Daily Archives: March 1, 2019

Targeting targeting

The NCAA is literally proposing to double down on the current targeting rule.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee met this week in Indianapolis and recommended two adjustments to its targeting rules to strengthen one of the most important calls of the game.

The committee, chaired by Stanford coach David Shaw, proposed a progressive penalty for those student-athletes who receive a second targeting foul in the same season. In addition to being disqualified from that game, the player would be suspended for the team’s next contest.

The second adjustment to the targeting rule deals with the instant replay review. Instant replay officials will be directed to examine all aspects of the play and confirm the foul when all elements of targeting are present. If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, then the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will not be an option for letting the call on the field stand during a targeting review.

“The targeting rule has been effective in changing player behavior,” said Steve Shaw, NCAA secretary-rules editor. “The progressive penalty is to ensure that a player re-evaluates his technique, with coaching staff support, after he receives a targeting foul. Additionally, the instant replay review changes will ensure that when a player is disqualified, it is clearly warranted.”  [Emphasis added.]

I’ve got no problem with that if you’ve got a kid out there head hunting, but upping the ante when the hit’s inadvertent seems a tad harsh.  I’m not sure if the purpose of the instant replay review is to discern intent in order to ameliorate that, but if so, good luck with reading kids’ minds on the field all the way from the replay booth.

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14 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Jerry Tarkanian was right.

From Wikipedia:

Just months before the 1976–1977 season, the NCAA placed UNLV on two years’ probation for “questionable practices.” Although the alleged violations dated back to 1971—before Tarkanian became coach—the NCAA pressured UNLV into suspending Tarkanian as coach for two years. Tarkanian sued, claiming the suspension violated his right to due process. In October 1977, a Nevada judge issued an injunction that reinstated Tarkanian as coach.[15] The case eventually made it all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled in 1988 that the NCAA had the right to discipline its member schools, reversing the 1977 injunction.[21] [22]

In the decade between the original suspension and the Supreme Court ruling, it was revealed that the NCAA’s enforcement process was stacked heavily in the NCAA’s favor — so heavily, in fact, that it created a perception that there was no due process. The enforcement staff was allowed to build cases on hearsay, and shared few of their findings with the targeted school. The resulting negative publicity led the NCAA to institute a clearer separation between the enforcement staff and the infractions committee, as well as a system for appeals. Also, hearsay evidence was no longer admissible in infractions cases.[23]

It’s taken decades, but the NCAA, looking to recapture the old magic, may have found its hammer.

The NCAA on Thursday asked for permission to intervene in a federal court case related to the FBI’s college basketball investigation.

Since the October conclusion of a trial that saw three men convicted of fraud for their roles in the pay-to-play scheme involving multiple college basketball programs including the University of Louisville, the NCAA has been attempting to gather more information to use in its own investigation.

Thursday’s motion was filed in the Southern District of New York “for the limited purpose of obtaining materials,” including 24 trial exhibits and an unredacted copy of a sentencing memorandum for defendant Jim Gatto.

“Although not a party to the case, the NCAA has a strong interest in the proceedings given the role its rules played at trial and its responsibility to enforce those rules,” the motion reads. “The requested materials will permit the NCAA to investigate potential rule violations, take enforcement action if warranted, and consider reforms to prevent future violations.”

Remember, all this came about as a result of building a questionable criminal case out of violating NCAA eligibility rules.  Mark Emmert’s good with that, but I’m not sure we should be.

19 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

Big

Thought this was an interesting chart Ian Boyd compiled:

Note that his starting off point of comparison is an offensive line that was coached by none other than Sam Pittman, which begs an obvious question, especially in light of Boyd’s “Bedenbaugh’s hunt to play the biggest OL in college football history” observation.  That question being, where does Georgia’s 2019 OL fit into the discussion?

Well, if I use Seth Emerson’s ($$) projected offensive depth chart as my point of comparison, here’s what Pittman would trot out on opening day at Vanderbilt:

  • Left tackle:  Andrew Thomas, 6-5, 320
  • Left guard:  Solomon Kindley, 6-4, 335
  • Center:  Trey Hill, 6-4, 330
  • Right guard:  Ben Cleveland, 6-6, 335
  • Right tackle:  Isaiah Wilson, 6-7, 340

Average size of those five:  6-5.2.  Average weight:  332.  The difference in total height between Georgia’s and Oklahoma’s projected lines is one inch, in Georgia’s favor.  The difference in total weight is 14 pounds, in Oklahoma’s.  Pretty damned even.

14 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

Pay those men their money.

A couple of days ago, I linked to that NYT op-ed piece about player compensation, in which the author, a former Division I college basketball player, had this to say, in part:

Forcing the N.C.A.A. to pay student-athletes would undermine opportunities for the vast majority of them. It would create a winner-take-all system in which only a handful of top recruits would get a paycheck on top of earning a diploma debt-free.

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.

By the way, this guy’s a law student, and he characterizes the relief the Alston plaintiffs seek as “forcing the N.C.A.A. to pay student-athletes”?  Dude, I hope you employ better reasoning in law school than that.  But I digress.

Anyway, the argument here is a common one.  If schools pay players in the revenue producing sports, that will by its very nature cause these same schools to divert funding from non-revenue producing programs, thereby depriving those student-athletes of opportunities to play.  If that’s the case, what’s the story at D-1 programs that currently don’t make any real money from their revenue producing programs?  Wouldn’t his logic suggest their non-revenue programs are already starving student-athletes?

You probably know where this is headed.  McDavis played basketball for Northern Colorado.  Here’s the story there:

The ban on paying wages to athletes has done nothing to stop schools from ruining their budgets to pour money into athletic facilities and making coaches their states’ highest-paid employees, in what is already a hopeless winner-take-all competition. Here’s how the Denver Post described the financial situation at McDavis’ own alma mater last year, a decade after it jumped to Division I:

UNC will end this fiscal year with a $10 million deficit and faces a similar shortfall next year, officials said, although the board of regents was told recently that deficit is now down to $4 million. Still, faculty members were told earlier this spring that the school’s reserves will be exhausted by 2021.

According to a spreadsheet of staff salaries on the university’s website, the athletic department at the University of Northern Colorado currently employs more than 70 full-time coaches and administrators, including a Senior Associate Athletic Director at $91,304, an Assistant Athletic Director at $53,070, a Director of Administration at $50,000, a Director of Sports Performance at $51,000, a Director of Marketing and Fan Experience at $50,000, and a Director of Strategic Communications at $50,000.

Sure seems like there’s fat to be trimmed if you don’t want to starve some of your student-athletes’ opportunities.

How would paying athletes make Northern Colorado’s situation any worse than it already is? McDavis warned that if an ongoing lawsuit ends up with a judge ruling in favor of college athletes getting paid, it will ruin the current system:

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.

But there aren’t 325 schools’ worth of Zion Williamsons to be paid for. Northern Colorado isn’t at risk of losing high-priced talent to Duke under some new set of rules; it has never been competitive with Duke for talent and never will be. What McDavis presented as a threat to college athletic programs is more likely to be their salvation. As long as athletes are off the budget, athletic departments can claim to be competing by proxy, spending recklessly on administrators and facilities to try to show they’re in the big time. If the payroll is set by the talent level, it will be obvious where the money belongs, and where it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing.  Some of you like to argue that there’s no requirement for kids to expect to be paid for playing, and thus it’s an unreasonable expectation.  The flip side to that particular coin is that there’s no requirement schools have to turn a profit on their athletic departments in order to provide all the opportunities they’d prefer to offer their student-athletes.  If it’s important for them to do so as part of their academic mission, it’s important regardless of what the football and basketball programs rake in.

Of course, it’s different if your Director of Marketing and Fan Experience is important.

15 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’

What in the holy hell is this?

Former Georgia outside linebacker D’Andre Walker generated some attention in a recent interview on the radio station, Atlanta’s Sports X, in which Walker seem to make a comment critical of UGA quarterback Jake Fromm…

Walker, as seen in an Instagram video shared by The Sports X, seemingly questions whether Fromm is a “bad man” — as described by show host and former Georgia Tech quarterback, Joe Hamilton.

If you watch the clip in question (dial it up to the :44 mark), Walker’s not questioning Fromm, he’s giving Hamilton shit in a lighthearted way.  But somehow this is worth mentioning at Dawgnation“Some Georgia fans”, my ass.

It’s always a long offseason at the AJ-C.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Let ‘er rip.

I was prepared to roll my eyes over Tom Fornelli’s piece in which he argues that he wants to ditch the pass interference rules entirely, but found myself reluctantly considering this bit:

You see it in every game. A receiver beats his man off the line of scrimmage. They’re 15 yards downfield now, and the safety isn’t coming to help. The corner is toast, and he knows it. So does the receiver. By now, the quarterback has figured it out as well, and he’s about to unleash a pass that should result in a touchdown.

But then something happens. It might be the result of a weak arm or the quarterback’s lack of confidence in his ability to make the throw. Maybe the QB is scared of overthrowing his target and being the guy who blew what should have been six points. Or perhaps he’s been coached to do it.

Whatever the case — possibly a combination of it all — the QB lets it rip, but it’s not a great throw. It is not a throw that will allow the receiver to run under the ball, gaining further separation, pull the ball in and cruise toward the end zone. The throw is short. Now, instead of running full speed, the receiver has to slow down. In some instances, he has to stop entirely and maybe even turn around completely and come back to the ball…

Let’s keep pass interference, but stop rewarding quarterbacks for making bad throws. Underthrowing your receiver downfield is becoming one of the most efficient ways to pick up a first down, and it needs to stop. I’m calling on the NCAA to implement changes to the pass interference rule. If the targeted receiver slows down or is forced to come back toward the ball due to a bad throw, any contact between the receiver and the defender should be seen as incidental and ignored.

I get his drift there and I can think of plenty of occasions when that’s been the case and it’s pissed me off to watch.  That being said, I can also think of plenty of occasions I’ve seen where that scenario was a result of a skilled quarterback deliberately making that throw to draw the penalty.  By definition, that would be a good throw, wouldn’t it?

Asking a ref to divine intent in order to determine whether a penalty is due is asking too much, even for college football, so I don’t see how Fornelli’s proposal stands a chance.  What do you guys think?

21 Comments

Filed under College Football, Strategery And Mechanics

“This is the right thing to do, and it is in the best interests of the University.”

I’ve got one question after reading this story about Art Briles’ ill-fated interview process at Southern Mississippi.

Southern Mississippi supporters reacted swiftly after reports emerged that the school was interviewing former Baylor football coach Art Briles for its vacant offensive coordinator position.

In emails to the school’s administration and athletic officials, they lobbied against hiring Briles because of his role in a sexual-assault scandal that led to his firing at Baylor. Some threatened to revoke financial support, either through season tickets or donations.

They needn’t have worried.

Southern Mississippi’s interim athletic director had decided against the hire even before Briles set foot on campus for an interview on Monday, Feb. 4. In an email obtained by USA TODAY through a public-records request, Jeff Mitchell instructed head coach Jay Hopson early on Feb. 3 to “go in another direction” for that position.

Saying that he was following up on “our earlier communication both in person on Friday and via text this morning,” Mitchell also wrote that he “can’t get to a place to support” hiring Briles.  [Emphasis added.]

After openly defying his AD and embarrassing the school in the process, how is Jay Hopson still gainfully employed as Southern Miss’ head coach?

7 Comments

Filed under Baylor Is Sensitive To Women's Issues, General Idiocy