If I didn’t know any better, I’d say the NCAA is starting to feel a little bit of heat.
The NCAA president and Board of Governors appointed a working group today to examine issues highlighted in recently proposed federal and state legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness.
Of course, there’s no more tried and true method of putting things off than forming a working group. And in any event, this sounds like a tough barrier to surmount.
According to the board, the group will not consider any concepts that could be construed as payment for participation in college sports. The NCAA’s mission to provide opportunity for students to compete against other students prohibits any contemplation of pay-for-play.
“While the formation of this group is an important step to confirming what we believe as an association, the group’s work will not result in paying students as employees,” said Gene Smith, Ohio State senior vice president and athletics director and working group co-chair. “That structure is contrary to the NCAA’s educational mission and will not be a part of this discussion.”
As part of its efforts, the working group will study modifications of current rules, policies and practices. In particular, it will focus on solutions that tie any changes to education; maintain the clear demarcation between professional and college sports; and further align student-athletes with the general student body.
Not sure that’s gonna mollify many politicians, but then again, the word salad may be for the NCAA’s benefit if it’s forced to cave sometime down the line. One thing you can tell from that language is that the NCAA is deathly afraid of ceding an inch on non-educational compensation in the NLI arena because it might be the precursor to letting the direct school pay to play camel into the tent.
By the way, note that Morehead’s included in the working group. Todd Gurley just shook his head a little.
A chart of elite recruiting programs:
Gosh, imagine what might happen if players were getting paid.
I get you might be someone who thinks the SEC’s fixed cross-division rivalry game is outmoded and unfair. I get you might be someone who thinks Alabama gets a subtle boost here and there in official support.
Like I said, I get all that, Amy Daughters. What I don’t get is why you think this sentence means anything.
While it’s impossible to assert that scheduling is the sole reason why Alabama has ascended to the SEC title game six of the past ten seasons, it’s equally impossible to say that it hasn’t helped the Tide get there.
Well, I’m convinced.
FOTB Henry did a little skulking around 247Sports’ recruiting rankings and dug up something worth sharing:
247Sports has an interesting feature at the bottom of their list of each school’s commitments. It shows the top commitments for each school since modern recruiting rankings were first started in 2001.
During that time, Tech has only one — one — five star recruitment. That was Calvin Johnson in 2004. Only four of their Top 25 recruits have been recruited since 2016 (including one for the 2020 class).
By comparison, in the same time period Georgia has recruited 48 five stars. Of their Top 25 all-time recruits, Georgia has recruited 11 since 2016 (including 2020 class). Some of those, like Justin Fields and Jacob Eason, are no longer with the program.
48 to 1. That’s a pretty big gap.
Five-star recruits for some top schools in the same period:
Southern Cal — 58
Florida State — 56
Alabama — 53
Georgia — 48
Ohio State — 42
Florida — 41
LSU — 35
Miami — 27
Clemson — 26
Oklahoma — 26
Tennessee — 25
Michigan — 20
Texas A&M — 18
Auburn — 17
Notre Dame — 15
South Carolina — 5
Georgia Tech — 1
As he goes on to note, Georgia sure looks out of place there in the context of national championships. You have to slide all the way down to Tennessee before you find the next goose egg. (No, 247Sports doesn’t track five-star hearts.) Hopefully, Kirby is about to right that.
The other thing that jumps out at me is how far Florida has fallen. From sixth overall to zero five-stars on the current roster is a long way down.
You know, I don’t think it should come as a surprise to any of you that it’s tougher to blog about college football during the dead period from May through July.
So I’d like to take a moment to thank the University of Florida for helping me get through what’s usually a slow time. This post’s gratitude comes via an Andy Staples piece about colleges finally getting around to schedule upgrades. Watch how he sticks the landing:
After years of being asked to pay for full-priced tickets to half-assed games, fans began voting with their (whole) butts. They stopped showing up for the games that serve only to give the home team a win and the visiting team a check. The tickets were still sold in most cases, but concessions went un-bought and the empty seats gave athletic directors and coaches pause. They knew once the butt has opted out, the wallet that rests on the butt isn’t far behind.
Georgia dove headfirst into the breach. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart professed a desire for three Power 5 nonconference games a year. Georgia—which already plays Georgia Tech every year—set up games with Oklahoma (2023 and 2031), Clemson (’29, ’30, ’31, ’33), Florida State (’27 and ’28) and Texas (’28 and ’29). As Georgia announced the last of these matchups last week, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin hinted on Wednesday that the Gators—who hadn’t played an out-of-state nonconference game on another school’s campus since visiting Syracuse in 1991—also were about to announce some home-and-home series against Power 5 opponents.
The next day, Florida announced a series with Colorado in 2028 and ’29. That underwhelmed the Florida fans who wanted something resembling Georgia’s list. But on Friday, Florida announced a series with Texas in 2030 and ’31. This was met with the appropriate amount of glee, but fans who will be asked to pay actual money for a 2020 home schedule of Eastern Washington–Kentucky–South Alabama–LSU–Missouri–South Carolina–New Mexico State naturally wondered if there might be some interesting nonconference games outside of the Florida State series before everyone has flying cars. Stricklin says he’s working on it.
(Which would be one fewer than Georgia’s stated goal. Not that anyone is keeping score other than everyone.)
When Greg McGarity is outdoing a rival AD at his job, it gets harder for me to keep the smug tone down. I appreciates you, Gators.
It’s not taking back the playcalling ($$), peeps. Well, not exactly, anyway.
His return to his roots, combined with a performance from a reenergized Kevin Steele defense, led to a record-breaking rout of Purdue in late December. Following the Music City Bowl win, Malzahn seems more at home in this role than the out-of-place CEO he was the last few seasons. There’s an air of quiet confidence around the Plains with the head coach getting back to his old ways.
“I really do see a different Coach Malzahn,” senior defensive end Marlon Davidson said. “It’s kind of hard to explain because Coach Malzahn is not the type of guy that y’all think he is. I saw him listen to Kodak Black one time. He’s really evolving.”
You’ve been warned, SEC.
Tate Martell was told not to let the door hit him in the arse on the way out of Columbus.
… Martell waited his turn, believing 2019 would be his year. Then Urban Meyer stepped down. Martell says he was told toward the end of the season he would be better off finding another school. Shortly after former No. 1 overall recruit Justin Fields announced he was transferring to Ohio State, Martell told the world he would transfer himself.
“Ohio State, that was my dream school,” Martell said during an interview this spring. “I was sick to my stomach. There was almost a point where I was like, ‘I’m going to roll the dice anyway’ because I wanted to be there.
“After being there for two years and not playing, I couldn’t risk it anymore. There’s a point where you love your teammates, you love everything about the school and the people there, but you have to start thinking about yourself and not doing it because these are my teammates. They all understood, and they weren’t upset at all.
“The good thing that happened was that I was told, so I wasn’t in a bad situation. So that’s the only thing I can say that was good about the situation is I wasn’t lied to.”
He’s got a point about the honesty. Bigger question: why should a kid under those circumstances be forced to sit out a season at his new school?
And Dan Mullen, of course:
Finebaum, appearing on WJOX 94.5 FM in Alabama, noted how quickly the tables have turned on Mullen this offseason when it pertains to Smart and the Georgia program.
“Losing recruits happens all the time, players get into trouble all the time but I think it’s a little bit of karma flying back at him,” Finebaum said. “I thought Kirby Smart won the day and maybe won the war by just shooing Dan Mullen away the other day like a fly on your sandwich at a Fourth of July picnic.”
… Finebaum went further in on the Florida program under Mullen and revealed that Mullen had been taking some further shots at Georgia when Finebaum went to visit the Florida program.
“He’s been running it for months, frankly, he’s been running it since he was born,” Finebaum joked during the interview. “I was in his office three and a half weeks ago, I heard him running his mouth about Georgia and it caught up to him and now all those people who have been sitting around going, ‘I wonder why he’s doing that?’ are turning on him.”
Hell, he may even be right about that. That’s a shame.
And then there’s dominance.
Shit, Dan Mullen’s spent more time trolling Georgia than that.