Daily Archives: March 8, 2019

“You’re not here to have fun. You’re here to get information about your future.”

Ever hear of the NCAA’s Elite Football Symposium?  Me, neither, but it sounds interesting.

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9 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

‘A full-time unpaid internship’

A starting college quarterback is just askin’.

Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger wants you to think for a moment.

“Consider a full-time unpaid internship that requires 1-4 years of participation with a minimum 40-hour work week,” Ehlinger tweeted Thursday evening. “This internship generates millions of dollars for your company, and billions of dollars for the broadcasting companies that cover your industry.”

The case to pay collegiate athletes isn’t new. Nor is the parallel that Ehlinger, a junior in UT’s McCombs School of Business, make. But Ehlinger continued in follow-up tweets:

“Within this internship, you risk your short-term and long-term health on a daily basis. You endure this internship with less than a 2% chance to advance in your industry and obtain a full-time paid job. Would you accept this position?

“Now consider the full-time unpaid internship as College Athletics and the full-time paid job as Professional Sports.”

But some of the side benefits are awesome.  Why, just this week, the NCAA generously agreed to extend the unpaid internship period for a couple of teams another week!  I mean, helping ESPN make a few extra bucks is bound to look good on the ol’ resume, amirite?  You sure can’t put a price tag on that.  Where’s the gratitude?

125 Comments

Filed under The NCAA

Hope spends.

Recruiting sites’ business model, explained:

… It’s an online environment unique to college sports, which are intrinsically rooted in an element that many of the writers and publishers of these subscription sites say is the driver of the whole business: hope.

Distill this whole thing down, and that’s what you’re left with. To cover a recruiting cycle or a coaching search is to cover hope—and those are the two biggest drivers of traffic for most sites in the Rivals and 247 networks. Games are great, but college football delivers the fewest of any major sport, which leaves a ton of time to fill. “Most teams are guaranteed 12 games,” says J.C. Shurburtt, who first joined Rivals as a recruiting analyst in 2004 and now owns and edits the South Carolina 247 site after serving as 247’s national recruiting director from 2010 to ’15. “Some play 13, 14, 15. So that leaves 350 to 353 days out of the year to be passionate about your team. Most of the focus during that time is on roster personnel, what’s going to happen in the future and then, in a lot of cases, hope.

“College football teams, they don’t play exhibitions. They don’t do scrimmages. They … play very few games. I think, what are you going to do for the rest of your time? We’ve kind of solved that. That’s the thing.”

In other words, some of us have too much time on our hands.  And what better way to fill that for some by wedding what’s on the back of the jersey to what’s on the front?

“The college fan is way more intense than NFL,” Heckman continues. “That’s the school that accepted you, right? … It’s family. These guys accepted me, so I want that team which represents me and my self-worth to be successful. People are very personal. A lot of people met their spouses at the games and tailgates, right, so the fanaticism [is personal].” He has a corollary to that theory specifically about recruiting. When a great player picks a school, he says, fans aren’t happy simply because their team improved. “That player validates you as a person,” Heckman says. “This person thinks [my school is] cool. He’s a great player and that validates me. It’s a totally different level that people don’t understand.”

If you think that sounds a little pathetic, consider this premise:

Talk to enough of the guys—and that’s what they were for the most part, young and middle-aged white men—who were on the scene when the idea for Rivals was hatched, and the conversation is bound to head toward porn. There were just too many parallels back then: The company that handled the 900 numbers mostly dealt with college football and porn. The men who posted video to the early servers streamed through hours of college football and porn. They are, as Heckman says, two things people are willing to spend “an irrational amount of money on.”

Hmmm.  Maybe I should spend more time here following recruiting.  (I keed, I keed… I think.)

11 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

Forgive and forget.

Hey, if I were Jeremy Pruitt, I wouldn’t dwell on the 2018 season, either.

The Volunteers held their first spring practice of the year Thursday at Haslem Field, and when Pruitt was asked afterward about the difference compared to last spring, his response included “I can’t remember what I had for breakfast last week.”

Later, when asked another question about 2018, his first season with the program, he said, “We had our shots last year.

“It’s over with. There’s nothing we can do about it, so I’m not going to talk about it anymore. We’re going to worry about next year; it’s the only thing we have control over.”

It’s only a crappy season if you remember it.  That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.

14 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Eh, what’s in a name?

Chip Towers does a pretty good job explaining the Eddie Gran offer.

Yes, of course Kirby Smart offered Gran a coordinator’s position to join his staff. To expect anything different would be ludicrous. At Kentucky, Gran carries the titles of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, not to mention a contract that calls for an $850,000 salary that’s due to rise to $875,000 this year and to $900,000 in 2020.

At the time Smart spoke to Gran, Jim Chaney had just left for a $550,000 raise at Tennessee. That left the Bulldogs with an opening for a tight ends coach and/or a coordinator or co-coordinator. James Coley, already on staff as co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach, wasn’t going anywhere. Of that, Smart was making sure. So co-coordinator would have been the most UGA could offer Gran.

And, to be clear, Smart needed to offer Gran a title. To believe the narrative that Gran was offered by Georgia only as a position coach would mean you buy two things: (1) That the Bulldogs were willing to pay Gran at least $875,000 to coach tight ends; (2) that Gran would be willing to leave Kentucky for a demotion.

Neither makes sense.

No, the only way Gran would have come to Georgia would be for a raise and at least a lateral move position-wise. Asking him to share the coordinator’s title with Coley is not much of a stretch. In fact, Coley and Gran have worked together in such a capacity before. They were co-coordinators from 2010-12 at Florida State, where Gran also had the title of associate head coach/running backs and Coley coached tight ends.

… So when Gran proclaims to the UK crowd that he was offered the offensive coordinator’s position at Georgia, he’s not lying. But he would’ve had to share that title with Coley, which he understandably wasn’t willing to do.

That’s a coherent explanation to my ears, although it begs the question of why Gran feels the need now to assert the existence of an offer he wouldn’t accept.

Nobody should fault Smart for trying to bring on Gran, or Gran for listening for what he has to offer. At the end of the day, does it really matter?

Georgia will still be Georgia, winners of nine in a row over the Wildcats, and Kentucky will remain Kentucky.

Well, okay.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, SEC Football

(Black) Market efficiency

For those of you struggling with the concept of how college sports would actually go about valuing student-athletes’ compensation, you can relax now.

They’re already doing it.

A 2017 phone conversation intercepted by the FBI between LSU coach Will Wade and basketball middleman Christian Dawkins features Wade speaking freely about a “strong-ass offer” he made in the recruitment of a prospect, Yahoo Sports has learned.

On part of the call, Wade expresses frustration that a third party affiliated with the recruitment had yet to accept Wade’s “offer.” Instead, a verbal commitment to LSU was being delayed because Wade theorized he hadn’t given the third party a big “enough piece of the pie in the deal” and instead “tilted” the offer toward the player and his mother.

… “Dude,” Wade continued to Dawkins, referring to the third party involved in the recruitment, “I went to him with a [expletive] strong-ass offer about a month ago. [Expletive] strong.

“The problem was, I know why he didn’t take it now, it was [expletive] tilted toward the family a little bit,” Wade continued. “It was tilted toward taking care of the mom, taking care of the kid. Like it was tilted towards that. Now I know for a fact he didn’t explain everything to the mom. I know now, he didn’t get enough of the piece of the pie in the deal.”

Dawkins responded by saying, “Hmmmm.”

“It was a [expletive] hell of a [expletive] offer,” Wade continued. “Hell of an offer.”

“OK,” Dawkins said.

“Especially for a kid who is going to be a two- or three-year kid,” Wade said.

Evidently they came to some sort of meeting of the minds, because the kid’s playing for Wade, whose team, by the way, is about to clinch an SEC regular season title, this season.  Shockingly, LSU fans aren’t turned off by Wade’s tactics.  Economics, for the win!

11 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Road tested

We’ve noticed that relatively few Georgia offensive linemen have been drafted by the NFL over the past few years.  We also expect that Sam Pittman’s going to change that.  One reason, of course, is the obvious rise in talent that he’s recruited.

There’s another factor, though.  Jason Butt, in a piece about why the NFL has been somewhat hit or miss in its evaluation of offensive linemen ($$), especially those taken after the first fifteen or so picks in the draft, mentions this:

With college teams opting to run faster out of the spread offense, linemen aren’t in the three-point stance nearly as much as they used to be. It’s forcing many linemen, especially those not as technically skilled as they need to be out of college, to face a longer adjustment period to the NFL. In the past, players developed in college within conventional pro-style attacks. Moving faster, for some teams, is the most important element of the offense. The primary goal is to catch a defense in a base set and on its heels. An offensive lineman’s fundamentals, subsequently, can be sacrificed. There is a reason offensive linemen from Wisconsin — sans Konz — and Iowa appear to be better prepared for the NFL than a lot of other teams. Those two programs are still running schemes that translate to the NFL game.

I don’t know about you, but I can think of another such offensive scheme.  And I assume that sells on the ol’ recruiting trail.

4 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics