That would be funnier if she hadn’t just signed off on paying Tracy Rocker $525k/year for two seasons.
Daily Archives: February 14, 2020
Son, I do not think that word means what you think it means.
I haven’t watched the XFL and don’t intend to, but this popped up on Twitter after the first week of play and I have to grudgingly concede they may be on to something with it.
As the announcer noted, if the kickoff doesn’t go past the 20-yard line, the receiving team gets the ball on the 45. Touchbacks go to the 35.
This appears to eliminate grown men running full bore at each other, while not turning kickoffs into a touchback-fest. There’s safety and opportunity. Pretty clever.
Dennis Dodd misses the mark.
Michigan State is paying a lot with no guarantees. Michigan State was desperate. It has always been a program that punched above its weight. Mark Dantonio had made a reputation coaching up three-stars, developing walk-ons and beating Michigan in eight of 13 meetings.
After the resignation of Dantonio, the Spartans had been turned down by Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell with others like Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi publicly declining interest. That makes Tucker a second choice, at best, and one the Spartans absolutely had to land.
Before taking Colorado, Tucker was regarded as one of the best assistants in the country. His former bosses include Nick Saban, Kirby Smart and Jim Tressel. His resume includes 10 years as an NFL assistant, most as a defensive coordinator.
But we don’t know what kind of head coach he’ll be — not yet, at least. For its $5.4 million, Michigan State is getting a coach who was 5-7 in his debut season at Colorado.
That $5.4 million puts Tucker right outside the top 10 highest-paid list, according to USA Today’s coaching salaries database. He will make more than Northwestern‘s Pat Fitzgerald, largely considered to be one of the country’s best coaches.
Fair? Nothing seems fair in college athletics these days. Michigan State had to overpay.
Was MSU desperate? After Fickell spurned the Spartans, that’s a fair interpretation. Did Michigan State overpay? From Colorado’s point of view, certainly, but MSU got its man and stopped the bleeding at a price it could easily afford to pay. What Dodd is saying is akin to criticizing someone for paying for a Rolex when a $20 Casio could tell time equally well.
The real issue here is that it still hasn’t completely sunk in how much money is flowing into the upper tier of college athletics, with lots more to come. And when you’re a non-profit that has to put the money to some use, well… that’s how Mel Tucker winds up becoming the most fortunate of men.
Perhaps the SEC needs to drop the “it just means more” slogan and adopt something more in sync with the times.
Stewart Mandel’s observation from his Mailbag ($$) got me to thinking about one possible reaction to the new financial reality of college football.
To be clear, conference money is only one contributor to an athletic department’s finances, along with ticket sales, merchandising and donations. Colorado’s total athletic department revenue in 2017-18 was $89 million, per USA Today. Even if you gave the Buffs a Big Ten payout, they’d still massively trail Michigan State’s $145 million take.
But those extra dollars from the conference can help plug a lot of holes.
My 180-degree turn about the impact of revenue gaps was shaped in part by covering LSU’s national title run last season. The benefits of being in a conference that recently announced $44.6 million-per-school distributions were on full display with the remarkable support structure at the heart of Ed Orgeron’s program. LSU last season employed 15 off-field analysts, plus graduate assistants and “consultants.” Former USC and NFL head coach John Robinson was on the payroll. So was longtime Power 5 defensive coordinator Kevin Cosgrove. Analyst Jorge Munoz worked so closely with Joe Burrow he was invited to the Heisman ceremony. (Munoz is now the receivers coach at Baylor.)
LSU’s staff directory currently lists 12 individuals with the title of “analyst.” Colorado’s lists three with the comparable title of “director of quality control.” And that’s without getting into the small army of nutritionists, performance coaches and myriad other behind-the-scenes figures.
I know Mark Emmert’s wet dream is to get an antitrust exemption, but that ain’t gonna happen. Schools aren’t going to be able to collude to prevent Tucker-like contracts going forward, much to Jimmy Sexton’s pleasure. But putting a lid on the facilities race? Yeah, I can see conferences banding together to limit what the Big Ten and SEC can do with the money gush flowing their way.
Naturally, the pundit class has latched on to the former Georgia defensive coordinator’s good fortune as a tale for our time. Hypocrisy seems to be a common theme, but nobody out there is saying Tucker’s stupid for taking the money and running.
There are a few points I can’t help but latch on to for comment, though. Take this thought from Andy Staples ($$):
Lesson 4: Don’t bash players looking to transfer when you’ve always looked for other jobs.
Tucker should have known this already, but hopefully this episode has taught him that he lives in the largest glass house in that particular neighborhood. (And he can afford to put a big ol’ addition on that glass house with his new paychecks.) Tucker secured the bag, and that’s great. We all should hope to do the same. But don’t begrudge someone else the opportunity to look elsewhere for a better opportunity when you’ve made a career out of it.
A little more self-awareness might help Tucker in his new job. If I’m Ohio State’s Ryan Day, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh or Penn State’s James Franklin, I’m pointing out Tucker’s recent about-face to every recruit who is considering my school and Michigan State. Tucker is going to have to work even harder to build trust now, and owning his previous terrible takes would be a great way to start.
Maybe, but if I’m a coach on the recruiting trail, I might be a little hesitant to knock what Tucker did because who’s to say I won’t be the next guy on the receiving end of an offer I can’t refuse?
What’s more likely, were I a coach, is that I wouldn’t be stupid enough to say something like ‘There’s no transfer portal in the real world …’ .
You know Nick Saban’s holding this in his back pocket in case the Florida legislation gets enacted.
A bill filed in the Alabama House of Representatives would allow college athletes to profit off their names and likenesses.
The “Fair Pay to Play” bill would allow student-athletes to earn money for their name, image or likeness, and obtain licensed agents. It would also prohibit schools, athletic associations and conferences from benching them for receiving compensation.
Filed by Rep. Kirk Hatcher (D-Montgomery), the bill also would require schools to create an “athlete injury and wage fund” from 15 percent of revenue from all athletic events. The money would be divided into an athlete injury health savings account and a wage account. The health savings account would “provide a player who suffers a career-ending or long-term injury during a game or team practice with compensation upon his or her graduation.” The wage account would be divided equally among all athletes at the end of each academic year.
If approved, the provisions would become active in 2023.
I’m not sayin’ Saban’s had an active hand in drafting this. I’m just sayin’.