Monthly Archives: June 2019

NCAA, when you’ve lost Lou Holtz…

Company man bites dog.

As for the state of college football, Holtz can only shake his head at coaches like Clemson’s Dabo Swinney making more than $9 million a year or coordinators getting multi-million dollar contracts.

“When I went to the University of Notre Dame they told me the policy was the head coach was not allowed to make more than the president,” Holtz said. “And the president was a priest who took the vow of poverty.”

For the record, Holtz said his salary was $95,000.

“The salaries have escalated and gotten out of hand,” he said. “I can understand why players are upset that they’re not getting part of that money. If you can pay a coach seven or eight million dollars …”

Although it wouldn’t surprise me if his real gripe is that he’s not twenty years younger and coaching today.


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in doing it for the kids

I don’t find this either surprising or a good look.

About 19% of college athletic trainers reported in a recent survey that a coach played an athlete who had been deemed “medically out of participation,” according to results released Tuesday by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association that reveal concerns about college coaches having too much influence in medical decision-making.

NATA president Tory Lindley said such actions put athletes at a “major risk.”

“To think that we’re in 2019 and that would still happen is really concerning,” he said. “It should be concerning for everyone involved in that institution. It should certainly be concerning to the parents, and certainly concerning to the athlete.”

No shit.


Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple

Okay, you convinced me.

I have to admit that I’ve finally found a positive to moving the Cocktail Party out of Jacksonville.  It would eliminate the topic as a source for this kind of dreck from Connor Riley.

I mean, Steve Spurrier, “power player”?  Seriously?


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Your Daily Gator is excited about recruiting.

You may not be aware of this, but Florida’s recruiting is on something of a roll over the past week.  The Gators now stand at a lofty sixth overall in the 247Sports Composite.

The eminently sensible David Wunderlich points out why it’s wise to temper some of that Orange and Blue excitement over that ranking.

In the SEC alone, there are five teams with better average rankings than Florida’s 89.82:  Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M and Auburn.  (And South Carolina and Tennessee aren’t that far behind Florida, either.)

In short, it’s a decent effort but not elite by national or even SEC standards, which is the point made by Florida’s 247 guy in this message board post:

1) Dan Mullen has done a good job shoring up the talent at the bottom and in the middle of the roster. I think in the SEC those spots on the roster are more important than other leagues in terms of maintaining success.

2) There’s still no doubt that UF needs to be a little more competitive with the programs currently on top of the CFB food chain in winning battles for elite prospects (i.e. five-stars and Top 100 types).

3) The difference between a Top 5 ranking and somewhere in, say, the 7-10 range or so, is typically just one or two truly elite recruits. UF hasn’t had those.

4) The improvement in building out the depth and talent on the bottom and middle of the roster (Point 1 in this thread) probably helps even more if you buy the theory Mullen and his staff are better evaluators than most.

5) I’m not convinced yet one way or another that Mullen and his staff ARE better evaluators than others. Few thoughts on this. Next tweet.

6) A) Not like they’re not going after most of the same top recruits the big dogs are; just not winning enough of those battles. Yet. B) The 2019 class is a tough data set in that regard, it actually looks better on paper by far than it already is (Steele, Jones, Black all gone).

7) Basically, I still don’t think it’s unfair at all to still have some lingering concerns about Mullen’s recruiting — see our jumping off point for this thread — while also realizing he’s improved the roster in spots that also matter considerably.

8) Recruiting will always have swings. Usually not as good or as bad as it seems. Florida’s on a good run right now. That’s encouraging. Not worth making any sweeping declarations one way or another still.

I’d quibble with his number three, because I’ve seen the results from years of Richt recruiting at that level and the distance between Georgia and the truly elite teams, talentwise, was greater than he suggests.  But the rest of what’s there is rather sound and not particularly blindly optimistic.

Needless to say, a lot of his message board readers aren’t seeing eye to eye with him.  Again, the general effect of this stuff is pure déjà vu if you’re a Georgia fan.  Only the jersey colors have changed.  Any season now, Florida will be back.  Count on it.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

One more look at the NCAA’s transfer waiver tweak

You know that famous line from Shawshank — “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”?  There’s an exception to that rule.

It’s when hope is the cornerstone of an NCAA policy.

There was plenty of negative reaction to yesterday’s announcement that the NCAA offered new guidelines meant to adjust the considerations that go into granting a waiver request for a student-athlete transfer.  The bulk of the criticism centered around two particular changes.

The first concerned players who are being shown the door by their current programs.

When a school requests a waiver because it asserts a student-athlete no longer has the opportunity to participate at his or her previous school, the new school must provide proof that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meeting progress-toward-degree requirements at the new school and a statement from the previous school’s athletics director indicating whether the student could return to the team; whether the student was dismissed from the team and the date of dismissal; whether the student was in good academic standing at the time of departure; and the reasons the student gave the previous school for the transfer.

Can anyone really imagine Greg McGarity sitting down to write a letter of explanation about how Kirby Smart no longer wanted one of his players who was otherwise in good standing affiliated with the program?  I can’t, at least not voluntarily.

But — and here’s a big one — I can certainly see McGarity wilting under media pressure when that same kid (and maybe that kid’s momma) takes his problem publicly.  It’ll be a rerun of what we saw a few years ago when coaches would routinely, often to an absurd degree, block a kid’s transfer plans.  And just like those exercises of raw control led to NCAA changes in transfer policy, a few rounds of this will do exactly the same thing.  Generally speaking, athletic directors don’t have the stomach to front for their head coaches like this.

The second objection deals with health-related transfer waiver requests.

In cases where a student-athlete transfers because of the recent injury or illness of an immediate family member, the new school must provide contemporaneous medical documentation from the treating physician showing how the family member is debilitated; an explanation of the student-athlete’s role in providing care; confirmation from both the athletics director and faculty athletics representative that the student-athlete will be allowed to depart the team to provide care; a statement from the previous school’s athletics director explaining why the student-athlete said he or she was transferring; and proof that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meeting progress-toward degree at the new school. The transfer must occur within or immediately after the academic year after learning of the injury or illness, and the guideline requires the new school be within 100 miles of the immediate family member.

So, you’ve got all this incredibly detailed and invasive information needed in order to consider the request, ladled on top of an arbitrary 100-mile requirement.  Sounds very workable.

I can’t get as worked up as many commentators have over this — Stewart Mandel ($$) simply throws his hands up and argues that the NCAA should do away with all restrictions on transfers — because I think even the NCAA itself knows this is little more than window dressing that isn’t likely to fix the problem.  (In its own words, “The changes were acknowledged as minor adjustments to the waiver process intended to clarify the requirements…”)

That’s because the problem isn’t with the specific guidelines.  It’s with the subjective nature of the waiver process itself.  As we’ve seen over the past few months, the schools and the NCAA aren’t equipped to split hairs in a way that is perceived as equitable.  These adjustments aren’t destined to work any better than the current arrangement; they’re simply offered in the hope that people will get off the organization’s back because it’s trying to do the right thing.

Good luck with that.

The real fix is simple.  Replace the subjectivity with an objective, one free bite at the transfer apple.

The solution here is so obvious, and so easy, that it almost defies logic schools haven’t already pushed for it. It’s time to give college football and basketball players a one-time pass during their career to transfer free and clear — no waivers, no extenuating circumstances, no questions.

While a consensus of athletics directors and coaches isn’t yet mentally ready to embrace that step, you can sense in conversations across college sports that it’s coming. This year? Probably not. Within five? Absolutely.

While the NCAA attempted to bring clarity to the waiver process Wednesday with what it characterized as small tweaks — the truth there lies deep in the weeds of NCAA policy wonkism — it’s still as transparent as mud. And the fundamental problem of two seemingly similar cases being adjudicated differently won’t go away, leading to more mistrust and frustration of the system both inside and outside the industry. And it’s going to create mountains of unnecessary work for compliance departments and NCAA staffers whose time could be much better spent on stuff that actually matters.

It’s a reaction to a reaction, which means there will be another reaction. So why not just get to the point here and let everyone play by the same rules?

Well, we know why.

Because the people in charge of big time college athletics are either dumbasses or control freaks.  Or both.


UPDATE:  Oops, I almost forgot.  John Infante does bring up a good point with the one, free transfer policy.

APR would have to be tweaked, I suppose, since it’s a standard that schools love to cling to as proof of their commitment to academics (I know, I know).  It’s an issue to be addressed, but it’s not an insurmountable one.


Filed under The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

A rising tide lifts all cupcakes.

You want to see another reason why Georgia has embraced home-and-home series against marquee opponents?  As this AJ-C chart indicates, the cost of bringing in sacrificial lambs keeps on climbing.

Screenshot_2019-06-27 What UGA spends for non-conference opponents

You can pay Directional U a couple of million to show up on a Saturday for a game that likely won’t engage your fan base, or you can schedule a two-game series with Notre Dame that electrifies them or take a big payout from a Kickoff Classic in Atlanta.  This might have been a tougher call a decade ago, but now the math is making it easier and easier.


Filed under Georgia Football

Looking for Second Chance U

Jeremiah Holloman has placed his name in the NCAA transfer portal.


Filed under Georgia Football

Extenuating and extraordinary

Sounds like the transfer waiver shoe is about to drop.

The NCAA Division I council is expected to approve a package of new guidelines that could make it more difficult for college football and basketball players who transfer to receive immediate eligibility via waivers, according to a document obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

The council is scheduled to meet Wednesday in Indianapolis to review the updated guidelines and directives, which in many cases appear to specify and narrow the circumstances in which athletes should be given waivers and raise the documentation requirements to obtain them. Compliance staffs at Division I schools were made aware of the proposals last week.

The new guidelines are not rules but essentially a set of directions for the Committee on Legislative Relief, which decides whether or not to grant the waivers…

In 2018, the NCAA implemented a new policy that would allow waivers to be granted on a case-by-case basis by the committee if the athlete could demonstrate “documented mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control and directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”

… The updated language of that same guideline is less broad, requiring “documented extenuating, extraordinary and mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control that directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”

How do you know the seemingly arbitrary nature of the waiver process had become a problem?  Because even Tom Mars thinks an adjustment is called for.

“Across the board, the proposed new guidelines raise the bar for schools seeking a waiver on behalf of a student-athlete,” said attorney Tom Mars, who has represented a number of high-profile athletes in waiver cases over the last year. “Given the dramatic increase in the number of waivers being sought for the 2019-20 season, raising the bar strikes me as a sensible short-term reaction by the Legislative Council.”

I still say an objective, one-time open transfer makes a lot more sense.  We’ll see what this leads to in the meantime.


Filed under The NCAA, Transfers Are For Coaches.

Your 6.26.19 Playpen

I worried I had no topic du jour for you, but fortunately Alabama voters rose to the occasion.

Tommy Tuberville is looked upon more favorably than an accused molester, so there’s that, at least.  Don’t say those Alabama folks lack standards.

And, on that note, the Playpen is yours.


Filed under GTP Stuff

“If you’re going to miss, miss fast.”

This Moneyball-comes-to-football-recruiting piece is one of the more interesting things I’ve read of late.

If there’s really something to it, I can’t wait to watch the funding wars heat up as P5 football programs across the country dramatically increase their analytics staffs.


Filed under Recruiting, Stats Geek!