It’s rare for a P5 athletic director to say that and be correct, but, in this case, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel is spot on with that quote. What’s it in reference to? This:
The Big Ten quietly proposed legislation last year that would allow players in every sport to transfer once in their careers without sitting out a year in residence at their new institution. If adopted, the legislation would mark one of the biggest competitive changes in the history of college sports…
The Big Ten’s proposal was largely unknown in NCAA circles. It went unpublished by the NCAA as it wound its way through the legislative cycle in October 2019.
Even Tom Mars…
“Helping student-athletes pursue their dreams without being unfairly penalized has become a large part of my practice,” Mars told CBS Sports. “… That said, I’d be thrilled if the NCAA Legislative Council put me out of business. Nothing would make me happier than to have them a more fair and sensible rule.”
And there’s your problem, right there. The NCAA doesn’t do more fair and sensible well.
The soonest the Big Ten’s legislation could be adopted is 2021, which leaves plenty of time for the usual suspects to wail and moan about it.
Hoo, boy, I don’t expect this to go down well in Gator Country. At all.
Jamie Newman is overhyped at Georgia.
Farrell’s take: FICTION. Having former Wake Forest QB Jamie Newman on my list at No 6 was greatly debated. Many didn’t know who he was and others didn’t even know he played last season, but trust me, this is a talented kid who has a chance to be very good with more weapons at Georgia. No 6 might be high, but it’s based on how well he carried the offense at Wake Forest last year and how he fits in at UGA.
Gorney’s take: FICTION. It’s not ridiculous to think Newman could actually be a slight upgrade from Jake Fromm . Newman threw for more yards and touchdowns at Wake Forest than Fromm did this past season at Georgia and so that playmaking ability despite not being surrounded by elite receivers could really propel Newman into a special season in Athens. He does make more mistakes, but he’s going to be a spark in the passing game and so there’s no way he can be overhyped. Farrell having Newman only at No. 6 was actually too low because of his importance to Georgia’s offense next season.
If you’re on the Dan Mullen train, there’s only one possible response to that.
I used to write about how pro-style meant something different from the spread offense that rapidly took over the college game and that college head coaches who wanted to market their ability to get quarterbacks ready for the NFL had a useful pitch in running pro-style offenses.
In 2013, I sat down with Reid in a plain room in a college building in St. Joseph, Missouri, where the Chiefs held their training camp. He told me that the college game is five years ahead of the pro game and that in five years, the spread offenses that had thoroughly dominated the college game would finally dominate the NFL. Five years later, it happened. The Eagles beat the Patriots in what Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley told me looked like a Big 12 game. I tell this story often for two reasons: Because it’s amazing how prescient Reid was, and because it explains Reid perfectly. He not only sees the future, but he helps shape it. Reid spent those five years borrowing liberally from other levels of football and has now perfected the form. In 2017, spread plays he ran against the Patriots were stolen by the Patriots and a slew of other teams. Reid famously stole a play last season from North Dakota State. The result? “College” plays are rarely discussed anymore. The levels of football have merged, a process Reid helped…
No, not every NFL coach is running what Reid is, but they’re no longer dismissing it out of hand like they used to, either. Hey, don’t take my word for it. Take this guy’s:
In 2018, Belichick said Reid has “over the course of time, been able to modify some of the traditional West Coast principles from Coach [Paul] Brown to Coach [Bill] Walsh to Coach Holmgren and so forth to fit his personnel and to fit new scheme ideas that he’s incorporated. So, West Coast offense is still built around speed, space, and balance—catch and run plays, yards after catch, balance between the running game and the passing game, and getting the ball to skill players so they can make yards with it.”
You don’t need to be a college quarterback in an I-formation offense to be attractive on the next level anymore. If you’re still wondering why Kirby Smart went out and hired Todd Monken, there’s another reason for you. The old pro-style sales pitch doesn’t work on the recruiting trail like it used to.
James C. Cobb is the Spalding Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Georgia. He is also a righteous man.
Is college football selling its soul and its future, by pursuing profits in ways that could irreversibly change its cultural meaning on campus and beyond?
I admit that such a question might take on greater urgency for someone like me who has been reveling in college football as a live, participatory spectacle for many an autumn at this point. I also concede that, on the surface, it may seem a bit daft to worry about where the sport is headed when more than 25 million people watched this year’s NCAA championship game and staggering television payouts have helped to boost gross revenues for the 25 most lucrative college football programs to $2.7 billion last year.
But these intoxicating financial benefits should not blind us to another, more sobering set of figures indicating that the sport is not quite the picture of health its overall earnings statements might suggest. According to a recent report, attendance fell by 7.6 percent between 2014 and 2018 at games involving the 130 big-time programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and the average turnout in 2018 was the lowest since 1996. Not only do major powers like Alabama and Clemson struggle to sell out their home games, but a 2018 Wall Street Journal investigation revealed that, on average, only 71 percent of those holding tickets for FBS games in 2017 ever made it through the turnstiles.
In fact, the money pouring into the sport may have triggered a backlash. Some of the income derived from billions in TV payouts has gone to support non-revenue-producing sports—from field hockey to track and field. Yet, that money also seems to have ignited an orgy of spending on new and upgraded football facilities and super-sized coaching salaries. With such expenditures now at levels too extravagant to be sustained by TV royalties alone, major programs seem more dependent than ever on bigger donations, not only from traditional high-dollar private benefactors but also from less affluent ticketholders as well.
… the question that data would appear to beg is this: if, just as they claimed in 2009, there simply isn’t the money today to compensate college athletes, how have expenses increased five-fold in a decade?
But there’s another question worth considering, too. Here’s the breakdown on Alabama’s athletic department revenues and expenses for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Football made money. Men’s basketball essentially broke even. Every other sport at the school lost money, which means every sport but one is being subsidized in significant part by not having to compensate football players. So, let me ask you another question: Why is it the financial responsibility of unpaid college athletes in revenue producing sports to support money losing programs?
Other lower-profile sport teams at Big Ten and SEC schools can charter planes, which athletic directors note is better for the players’ bodies and for their academics. One Power 5 coach (not in the SEC or Big Ten) talked about how his budget for analysts is less than what some individual analysts make in the SEC. That coach also pointed out that his recruiting staff is limited to one in-house recruiting person, a graphics person and a student in a work-study program. This matters in an age when, he says, “Kids don’t want to read text messages. They respond to graphic messages, and there were some places that have 10 people doing that.”
On the top end of the college football food chain, you have Ohio State. The Buckeyes have 11 full-time recruiting employees. That includes five who work in creative media. Three videographers and two graphic designers work to create the messaging that the program sends to recruits. That 11 number doesn’t include two full-time interns in personnel, one student helping with on-campus visits and two more students who help with graphics and video.
Check out Mr. Fromm, rocking that State Farm shirt for real now:
Jake Fromm is riding out of Georgia and into the NFL. But first he talks to us on Radio Row about what went into the decision to leave college early and just how grueling it is to play in the much-hyped SEC. #SBLIV#USATRRhttps://t.co/P3nZPnife0
That’s kind of a powder puff interview, but this is probably one reason why Fromm feels better about his decision to leave Georgia early:
“This is not a good overall quarterback class, that’s for sure,” said one scout in Mobile. “There are a couple good ones, but there’s not the depth that even, like, last year [had].
“There are a couple guys that are definitely going high … a couple that will go higher than they should because that always happens because it’s such a needy position. But there’s not a lot of [depth].”
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