Daily Archives: May 7, 2020

The new normal

Hey, it’s a perfectly innocent question.

A Power Five athletic director, who was granted anonymity, is adamant that a football season could be played without the general student body on campus.

“Why can’t you play football on campuses that are closed?” the athletic director asked.

By the time this is all over, these guys are going to be so twisted in knots trying to defend what’s left of the academic experience for college athletes, their bones will snap.

20 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

“We’re running models on various social distancing mandates.”

It’s certainly prudent that Georgia is researching this.

Georgia officials are in the planning stages for what they hope will be a football season to start in September that would allow for a limited number of fans in Sanford Stadium.

“We’re running models on various social distancing mandates,” athletic director Greg McGarity said Wednesday. “It depends on what phase we’re in. I don’t think it’s ever going to be business as usual because there’s going to be new standards in play as far as hygiene, the way we look at concessions, the way we look at seating.”

McGarity said Georgia has worked on those details the last month during a time where society has grown accustomed to staying at least six feet apart from others to reduce the spread of the novel cornonavirus.

It seems to me seating is the easiest part of this.  How they handle entry/exit, concessions, bathrooms — hell, how they handle passageways in a stadium that wasn’t designed with six feet of separation for crowds in mind — is a lot trickier.  Honestly, I don’t know how you do it effectively without a lot more support staff in place, which means they’re adding more folks back into the mix.

Any thoughts?

111 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

“We talked about what the school itself has to offer… the business and brand marketing side.”

Stewart Mandel ($$) yawns at the “OMG, the boosters!” affect on whatever the new NIL rules ring in.

Of course, there’s the theory out there that some Boone Pickens-type mega-booster at a non-traditional school will just go and buy an Alabama-caliber class by signing them all to six-figure endorsement deals. First of all, a lot of guys still wouldn’t take the deal if they truly want to play somewhere else. Notice the NBA is now paying likely one-and-doners $500,000 to go play in the G-League, and yet plenty are still choosing to go to Duke or Kentucky for “free.” But also, that mega-booster is going to find out really quickly he’s not getting much of an ROI when half those guys either never make it off the bench or transfer before they ever see the field.

I’ll be writing about this subject in more detail later this week, but when all is said and done, I’m guessing that just like in pro sports, a small handful of superstars in their sport (think Johnny Manziel, Zion Williamson, Tua Tagovailoa or Sabrina Ionescu) will be able to get rich in college, but for most, this will primarily be a means to bank an extra $10,000-$20,000 a year through local appearances and sponsored social media posts. Which seems … fairly harmless.

Which is a pretty good sales point in and of itself on the recruiting trail.  Just ask Ohio State.

Other than coronavirus, the most-talked about news in college sports last week was centered around the NCAA Board of Governors putting forth its support for rule changes to allow NCAA athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

Like most powerhouse programs, Ohio State football’s recruiting team had already made its personal branding opportunities a major staple of its program and a major staple in recruiting pitches. We can expect that to pick up even further in the future, and as pointed out by Eleven Warriors’ Colin Hass-Hill last week, that has already started with Ohio State coaches on Twitter.

If you don’t think Kirby’s taking notes, you’re crazy.

43 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting

But, muh receivers!

Shot.

Chaser.

Blecch, indeed.

5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Kids — you can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em.

This exchange struck a chord with me.

Why do so many college football fans seem to have a love/hate relationship with the players these days?  As much as some would proclaim otherwise, it’s not as if they’re any more selfish than the others who inhabit the same world.  (And unlike those others, they at least have the excuse of immaturity.)

We hang on the edge waiting to see where they go and what they do once they get there, but are scornful of them in the next breath.  It’s a little strange, no?

8 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Your Daily Gator, without irony

It’s not the start of this Swamp247 comment thread that’s amusing.  As we’ve noted, Jamie Newman isn’t a slam dunk as Georgia’s next quarterback; it’s certainly within the realm of possibility that Kyle Trask has at least as good a season as Newman does.

Nah, it’s this insult that’s the winner.

Screenshot_2020-05-07 The King vs The New Man

Feleipe Franks, they hardly knew ye.

16 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators...

Alway$ be ‘crootin’.

It’s not easy being a recruiter these days.  Just ask Matt Borman.

That up-close-and personal connection through private dinners and a couple more traditional speaking stops, like so much, has been disrupted by the novel coronavirus.

Instead, Smart hooked up with members of The Hedges—the exclusive group for those who donate $100,000 a year—from his home for three one hour “Chalk Talk” Zoom sessions last month. Up to 20 members took part on each afternoon chat. Men’s basketball coach Tom Crean did the same last week in what he called two “clinic type presentations.” The coaches also took questions at the end of their talks.

“We’re trying to stay creative,” said Georgia Bulldog Club president and deputy director of development Matt Borman.

Those wallets aren’t going to open themselves.  Still, in these trying times, the message to donors has to be balanced.

Now, Borman’s staff of 16, including seven that are typically on the road for much of the time trying to raise funds, are working from home.

“It’s really not fundraising right now,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. “It’s really more of our staff checking in with our donors. We’re trying to reach out and just make points of contact and just stay in touch with our donors. To say there’s any aggressive type of fundraising activity now, it’s not occurring.”

Not right now, anyway.  In fairness, it’s going to get tough if Georgia doesn’t play football this year.

Borman said if there isn’t a 2020 season, football season ticket holders will get refunds for their tickets and their Hartman Fund donation.

“If there is no football season, and we hope that’s not the case, we will be in a situation where we’ll need our donors more than ever,” he said. “There will be a solicitation at that point to keep those dollars and provide some incentive to do that if that is a situation the donor will feel comfortable with.”

“Some incentive” covers a lot of ground.  I wonder what combination of sticks and carrots they’ve got in mind.  Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

5 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Bored, kid? You could always commit today.

Bud Elliott notices something interesting about the current recruiting class.

Sometimes you know things are happening, but you don’t realize the full extent until you dig into the data. It happened this week. College football recruits were committing left and right. It seemed like a lot of them were giving their verbal pledges to schools.

247Sports design and social media specialist Ted Hyman also noticed the same, tweeting at the end of April that he was swamped with requests for commitment edits and graphics.

But was it really more than normal for this time of year?

In a word? Yes. Much more than I could have imagined.

“Wowww, so I’m not going crazy,” Hyman said when I sent him the data.

As of May 6, there are 627 committed recruits in the current class of rising seniors (class of 2021). As of May 6 of last year, there were 302 committed recruits (class of 2020). As of May 6 two years ago, there were 243. As of May 6 three years ago, there were 299.

The commitments are happening so fast and so early that as of May 6, 2020, we have more committed recruits than we had in any two previous years combined.

Even more interesting, it’s a trend that’s accelerating since the country went into shutdown mode.

But since recruiting was effectively shut down on March 14, 424 prospects in the class of 2021 have committed. Compare that to 198 over the same period last year, 170 the year before, and 202 the year before that.

Keep in mind that in these eight classes. there have been no recruiting visits, either by recruits to a college campus or by coaches to high schools to see prospects in person. Schools and prospects are flying blind compared to the normal process.

Prospects are scrambling to secure spots in classes, even if they have never visited those campuses. Our analysts know of several prospects who have tried to commit to multiple schools only to be turned away before finally finding a home.

Some coaching staffs, particularly new staffs, are reluctant to take prospects site unseen because of the potential need to squeeze them out of a class could damage relationships in their states with power players and high school coaches. Many of those relationships have not yet been formed in-person due to the shutdown.

But many schools are willing to take them, even if it means having to drop them from their class later in the year.

Elliott thinks that means we may be looking at an epic wave of de-commitments once things return to normal (or whatever normal turns out to be later in the year).  Perhaps that’s something credulous pundits who are extremely impressed with Jeremy Pruitt’s recruiting wizardry should be mindful of before making broad pronouncements like this.

6 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

You can’t have a college football season without doing it for the kids.

Start with this.

All but one of the 14 schools in the Southeastern Conference have indicated they plan to reopen their campuses for the fall semester, a step widely believed to be needed to resume football and other sports.

I’m sure one has nothing to do with the other.  Still, you’ve got to sell it.  Mike Griffith has the sales pitch.

Are student-athletes safer back in their hometowns, or in a controlled college environment?

Student-athletes are already somewhat quarantined by the very nature of how collegiate sports have evolved, particularly at Power 5 institutions.

Scholarship athletes have their own weight rooms, meeting rooms, training tables and academic support centers.

Ah, yes.  The “controlled environment”.

If a player gets sick at school, they’ll say it could have just as easily happened at home.  Life (and football) goes on.  It’s in their best interests, after all.

7 Comments

Filed under College Football, The Body Is A Temple