… you can forgive a lot.
… you can forgive a lot.
You’ll be relieved to know that your use of the word “THE” isn’t restricted.
So, the NCAA has sent off a sternly worded letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, threatening to unleash hell if the Fair Pay to Play Act becomes law.
By “hell”, I mean, of course, more litigation.
Reference to the bill’s legality signals the NCAA’s potential willingness to sue California under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says that only Congress has the power to regulate commerce among states.
The letter is signed by every member of the NCAA Board of Governors, the association’s top policy- and rules-making group.
In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, Ohio State President Michael Drake, who chairs the board of governors, confirmed that the association would consider legal action if the bill becomes law.
“We’ve looked at this very, very carefully and it does raise constitutional challenges,” Drake said, “so that’s something that would be looked at … yes.”
That letter, though, raises a concern that gives the amateurism game away.
“If the bill becomes law and California’s 58 NCAA schools are compelled to allow an unrestricted name, image and likeness scheme, it would erase the critical distinction between college and professional athletics and, because it gives those schools an unfair recruiting advantage, would result in them eventually being unable to compete in NCAA competitions.” [Emphasis added.]
Those of us with an ordinary grasp of economics would react to the highlighted portion of that quote with a shrug and a “duh”, but if you’re an amateurism romantic who’s fully bought in to the notion that student-athletes are fairly compensated for their services already and should appreciate how good they’ve got it, the idea that there’s more money out there for them — something the board of governors clearly concedes — is heresy. And yet that is what the NCAA is warning California it’s risking with the passage of this law.
I noted a few days ago that the second-year coaching bump effect is off to a somewhat rocky start in 2019. Bud Elliott, in his Banner Society newsletter, speculates about a possible cause for that.
For whatever reason, though, the bump doesn’t appear to be happening with this year’s sophomore coaching class.
Let’s acknowledge that a two-week sample set is far too small to draw meaningful conclusions. Let’s also acknowledge that it is also possible that this group of coaching hires was simply poor…
As Banner Society’s recruiting writer, I try to think about everything in CFB as it relates to recruiting. And a very important recruiting thing happened in 2018: the first Early Signing Period for college football recruiting. Prior to 2018, when a coach was hired in late November or early December, he had about 10 weeks to assemble his staff and put together a recruiting class by the traditional National Signing Day, the first Wednesday in February. It wasn’t easy, really, to catch up on relationships with existing verbal commitments, evaluate the class, and target new recruits to bring in to the class.
As you might expect, the first abbreviated recruiting classes signed by coaches typically had a high wash-out rate and were not as good as the classes put together once the head coach and his staff had a full year or more within the program.
But with the advent of the Early Signing Period, which now happens a week before Christmas, coaches had only about three weeks between Thanksgiving and ESP to get their staff together and sign their prospects. And while waiting for the traditional National Signing Day date in February was technically an option, it wasn’t a realistic one, as more than 90% of FBS recruits signed in the Early Period.
There is not enough early data to prove this, but anecdotally, some of the recruiting classes signed by these programs in such short order are worse than what you would normally expect to see with an abbreviated class. It’s just a natural consequence of having so little time to put together the class. Some of the quality athletes who were “available” to be signed were likely available because they had character or competitiveness red flags that established staffs identified and stayed away from, while new staffs had to roll the dice in an effort to get some sort of talent injection.
The early period also set back some staffs in their second year. The major, successful programs who did not make coaching changes had most of their class wrapped up well before the Early Signing Period, and had already moved on to making contacts for the next class (in this case, 2019). Meanwhile, the new staffs hired during the Early Signing Period were having to recruit for the Early Signing Period and, thereafter, survey the landscape to try and fill out their class on the traditional NSD from the leftovers who did not sign in the ESP. This effectively gave the programs who did not make a coaching change a 100-day head start on the 2019 class. While new staffs were hosting official visitors for the class of 2018, existing staffs were hosting junior days, where the class of 2019 was checking out their program.
While not fatal, this did put the new staffs at a disadvantage for the 2019 class, which was to be their first “full” class.
Bud goes on to note that, except in cases like, say, Georgia Tech, where the administration realizes the rebuild is going to take time, new coaches need to hit big with that first class and that usually there’s a decent chance they will because of the excitement and a new direction surrounding their hires, neither of which has been tainted by disappointing on the field results.
Yeah, it’s way too soon to draw any substantive conclusions, but Bud says at the end exactly what I was thinking as I read his piece:
Could the mad dash to make something out of the first Early Signing Period have caused a snowball effect that is seeing coaches fail to meet expectations and show progress? I’m not ready to say yet, but I’ll be watching. And as time goes by, if more data supports that theory, it has some fascinating ramifications for the CFB hiring calendar.
In other words, ADs will panic earlier than they do now, even though hiring or firing based on a recruiting class is generally a mug’s game. What do you guys think?
Watching this live, I thought it was the best kickoff of Rodrigo Blankenship’s career.
I don’t know how you could place that ball any better than he did.
Ben Watson was not the droid Laura Ingraham was looking for.
That was… awkward. Have at it in the comments.
If there’s any coach out there I expected to embrace the use of analytics wholeheartedly, it’s Mr. “aggregate of marginal gains.” ($$)
“We use a ton of analytics,” Smart said. “We’ve got people that come in, they give us a breakdown, they read through it, and sometimes you use it, sometimes you don’t, but it’s there. We purchase it. We use a lot of analytics.”
That’s not to say Kirby’s made a slave of himself to them, but he’s not going to leave any stone unturned, either.
“What does it all mean in a huge bucket?” Smart said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to do what you feel is best for your team’s chance of success, but there’s a lot more analytics involved.”
Just what you’d expect from a Terry College grad. 😉