Maybe the #WeAreUnited players and the P5 have more in common than I thought.
Daily Archives: August 2, 2020
This comes from a member of Congress:
I keep looking for stuff about what losing football due to COVID is going to cost college towns. Here’s something I found in The Athletic ($$) about the hit businesses in Lincoln, Nebraska are expecting to take from less or no Nebraska football fans this season:
The 89,000-plus who pack into the stadium and the thousands more who watch the game from tailgates and bars come from all over. A 2014 study from UNL’s Bureau of Business Research found that 69 percent of fans who attended Husker football games in 2013 traveled to Lincoln from outside the area. And they spent a lot of money.
According to the study, Husker football ticket holders’ off-site spending in Lincoln totaled an estimated $42.9 million for eight 2013 home games, an average of almost $5.4 million per game. Out-of-town visitors accounted for an estimated $4.3 million of that average. Football fans combined to spend nearly $18 million on food and $7 million on lodging during those eight weekends. The study determined the overall impact of Nebraska athletics on the local economy in 2013-14 was an estimated $245.5 million.
One bar owner estimates that the take from Nebraska’s seven home game dates pays the bills for most of the year. Given what local hotels charge, I can believe it.
But those home games with two-night minimum and even higher rates do make a difference. At Embassy Suites, the cheapest two-night reservation available right now for the Purdue game on Sept. 5 costs $814. At The Kindler, it’s $941.
It’s not pretty.
In light of the P5 putting the squeeze on the NCAA to do its bidding to give it cover for playing a football season, the timing of this is delicious.
A group of Pac-12 football players from multiple schools is threatening to opt out of both preseason camps and games until its negotiations with the league regarding concerns about racial injustice, their safety during the coronavirus pandemic and other demands are completed.
A text message obtained by ESPN says the group’s goal is to “obtain a written contract with the Pac- 12 that legally ensures we are offered the following protections and benefits.”
A contract? I only wish Jim Delany were still around to see it.
They published their terms today. It’s quite the to-do list.
Pac-12 Football Unity Demands
To Protect and Benefit Both Scholarship and Walk-On Athletes
I. Health & Safety Protections
- Allow option not to play during the pandemic without losing athletics eligibility or spot on our team’s roster.
- Prohibit/void COVID-19 agreements that waive liability.
Mandatory Safety Standards, Including COVID-19 Measures
- Player-approved health and safety standards enforced by a third party selected by players to address COVID-19, as well as serious injury, abuse and death.
II. Protect All Sports
Preserve All Existing Sports by Eliminating Excessive Expenditures
- Larry Scott, administrators, and coaches to voluntarily and drastically reduce excessive pay.
- End performance/academic bonuses.
- End lavish facility expenditures and use some endowment funds to preserve all sports.*
*As an example, Stanford University should reinstate all sports discontinued by tapping into their $27.7 billion endowment.
III. End Racial Injustice in College Sports and Society
- Form a permanent civic-engagement task force made up of our leaders, experts of our choice, and university and conference administrators to address outstanding issues such as racial injustice in college sports and in society.
- In partnership with the Pac-12, 2% of conference revenue would be directed by players to support financial aid for low-income Black students, community initiatives, and development programs for college athletes on each campus.
- Form annual Pac-12 Black College Athlete Summit with guaranteed representation of at least three athletes of our choice from every school.
IV. Economic Freedom and Equity
Guaranteed Medical Expense Coverage
- Medical insurance selected by players for sports-related medical conditions, including COVID- 19 illness, to cover six years after college athletics eligibility ends.
Name, Image, and Likeness Rights & Representation
- The freedom to secure representation, receive basic necessities from any third party, and earn money for use of our name, image, and likeness rights.
Fair Market Pay, Rights, & Freedoms
- Distribute 50% of each sport’s total conference revenue evenly among athletes in their respective sports.
- Six-year athletic scholarships to foster undergraduate and graduate degree completion.
- Elimination of all policies and practices restricting or deterring our freedom of speech, our ability to fully participate in charitable work, and our freedom to participate in campus activities outside of mandatory athletics participation.
- Ability of players of all sports to transfer one time without punishment, and additionally in cases of abuse or serious negligence.
- Ability to complete eligibility after participating in a pro draft if player goes undrafted and foregoes professional participation within seven days of the draft.
- Due process rights.
Especially in a time of pandemic, I doubt that 50% of conference revenue demand will get any traction, but there’s plenty there that college football should have already ponied up for the players.
And asking Larry Scott to “drastically reduce excessive pay” is pure **chef’s kiss**.
The players do have leverage at the moment, because it’s obvious the P5 conferences need football revenue. Their threat is pretty straightforward.
Due to COVID-19 and other serious concerns, we will opt-out of Pac-12 fall camp and game participation unless the following demands are guaranteed in writing by our conference to protect and benefit both scholarship athletes and walk-ons.
They’ve also asked players from other conferences to join their cause. I imagine there are a few bricks being shat this morning by Scott’s and the Pac-12 presidents’ peers.
I have no idea where this goes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the people running the sport won’t eventually regret negotiating a players’ union on more friendly terms when they were presented with the opportunity at Northwestern. Because that’s the way they roll.
UPDATE: More here.
“The way to affect change and to get your voice heard is to affect the bottom line,” Daltoso said. “Guys realize the moment and are standing together in unity throughout this whole thing. This is bigger than our individual selves. This is for all future college athletes.”
“If you look at history throughout this country, there hasn’t been change without ruffling feathers,” Guidry adds. “Not everybody is going to want change because otherwise it would have happened already. People are going to have strong opinions. You wish you could talk to everybody and have a civil conversation and broaden their perspective. You have to do what you know is the right thing.”
In anticipation of the NCAA Board of Governors potentially canceling or postponing fall sports championships, Power 5 conference leaders have begun exploring the possibility of staging their own championships in those affected sports, multiple sources have told Sports Illustrated. This could be seen as a first step toward a long-theorized breakaway from the NCAA by the 65 schools that play college sports at the highest level.
The Board of Governors, comprised primarily of university presidents and chancellors from all levels of the NCAA, has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday. At that time it is expected to make a decision on the fate of fall sports championships other than FBS football, which has a championship outside the NCAA structure. However, the board also could delay action until later in August.
In recent days, Power 5 conference officials began seeking feedback from their members about the feasibility of staging their own championships during the fall, sources told SI. When asked if such a move away from the NCAA championship structure could be seen as a precedent-setting rift between the national governing body of college sports and the Power 5, one athletic director said, “If I were (NCAA president Mark) Emmert, I’d be really worried about it. He’s got to keep the Power 5 together.”
Multiple sources said part of the motivation for the Power 5 considering hosting its own fall Olympic sports seasons is to justify playing football, the revenue-driving sport for all athletic departments at that level. If all the other sports are canceled but football perseveres on its own, the optics would open up the schools to severe criticism. Thus, playing all fall sports would allow those schools to say that they are not uniquely subjecting football players to any risk.
Sources described the discussions about breakaway championships as preliminary in nature, the first steps in gauging both interest and feasibility. An Atlantic Coast Conference administrator said the concept is “hypothetical” in nature and not mature yet, but “if the NCAA does something, it could shift it from neutral to first gear.”
Given the P5 incentive to justify football, the Board of Governors’ decision—and rationale—will be critical. If it decides to cancel fall sports championships for COVID-19 health and safety reasons, it would be difficult for the Power 5 to justify going its own way without a plan that they can definitively protect their athletes. But if the board says that the cost of safely conducting championships is prohibitive, the Power 5 could have an avenue to play all its fall sports—football included.
Puddle of vomit on the floor.
“We’re all trying to think, hey, what can we do for our kids, so they have a season and a chance to compete for a championship,” one Power 5 athletic director said. “And, quite frankly, how can we justify playing football?”
Not necessarily in that order.