Daily Archives: September 29, 2021

Death of a catchphrase

Looks like the NLRB objects to some time-honored language:

Today, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memorandum to all Field offices providing updated guidance regarding her position that certain Players at Academic Institutions (sometimes referred to as student athletes), are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, and, as such, are afforded all statutory protections.

The memo further advises that, where appropriate, she will allege that misclassifying such employees as mere “student-athletes” and leading them to believe that they are not entitled to the Act’s protection has a chilling effect on Section 7 activity and is an independent violation of Section 8(a)(1) of the Act.

“Players at Academic Institutions perform services for institutions in return for compensation and subject to their control.  Thus, the broad language of Section 2(3) of the Act, the policies underlying the NLRA, Board law, and the common law fully support the conclusion that certain Players at Academic Institutions are statutory employees, who have the right to act collectively to improve their terms and conditions of employment,” said General Counsel Abruzzo. “My intent in issuing this memo is to help educate the public, especially Players at Academic Institutions, colleges and universities, athletic conferences, and the NCAA, about the legal position that I will be taking regarding employee status and misclassification in appropriate cases.”

Recent developments bolster General Counsel Abruzzo’s  position, including: the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent unanimous decision in NCAA v. Alston, that recognized that college sports is a profit-making enterprise…

Sounds like we’re about to hear a lot less “student-athlete” going forward.  If you’re a college athlete, Alston is the gift that keeps on giving.  Kudos to Messrs. Emmert and Remy for standing up on principle!

62 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label, The NCAA

“I guess that’s why they get paid to do what they do.”

A revealing quote from Mr. Kirby Smart ($$):

“I don’t know this for certain — but I don’t think a lot of teams do the evaluation process as deep as others,” Smart said. “Some people fall in love with a player because of a play and they just go recruit him, but we don’t do that here. We watch a lot of tape. I’m on my coaches all the time that the tape and the camp is what speaks volumes to who they are. Trust your evaluation and we worry about the ones we get and not the ones we don’t. It’s helped us.”

And roster tweaks the NCAA is proposing to bail out coaches who don’t do their recruiting due diligence like the Smarts and Sabans do, like the temporary expansion of the 2022 recruiting class, are going to be of more benefit as a weapon for the evaluators than a crutch for the ones who don’t put the work in.

You can’t game slack.

20 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“The luxury of time”

Bill Hancock ain’t worried about playoff expansion.

“We have time, because if the event is going to change before the end of the term, the end of the 12 years, we have three or four months,” Hancock said. “If it’s going to change in Year 13, then we have a couple of years.”

The 10 FBS commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick met for about two hours in a hotel conference room near the Big Ten headquarters, and the CFP’s board of managers, which is comprised of the 11 presidents and chancellors who have the power to change the playoff, joined them via video conference for the second half of the meeting.

For once, he’s probably right.  There’s simply too much money in a 12-team format for them to walk away, as much as I wish they would.

At least it sounds like there’s some bad news for Mickey.

… They also discussed media rights, but Hancock said ESPN television executives were not a part of Tuesday’s discussions.

“The format will be done before television,” Hancock said.

If the playoff format were to change before then, ESPN would have first rights to any new games. If college football’s power brokers are determined to take the playoff to multiple media entities as a way of maximizing revenue, it would need to wait until after 2025 or work out an arrangement with ESPN.

“In last week’s meeting, it became clear for the first time that all 11 members of the management committee now believe we have to have multiple distributors of our postseason content,” one source with knowledge of the discussions said.

My only question is what happens if (when?) ESPN outbids everyone else at the table for the whole enchilada.  Would these people really take less money just to keep someone like Fox in play?  Color me skeptical.

22 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Friendly banter

Just a couple of opposing coaches joshing with each other

Arkansas coach Sam Pittman said he reached out to Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning this week, sending him a text message.

“I texted Dan Lanning (Monday) night and I told him he doesn’t need to put any more blitzes in because he can’t run them all anyway,” Pittman said.

“He sent me back 11, he drew it on a piece of paper and sent me back all 11 of them rushing. I said, ‘Hell, we’ve already seen that blitz.’ “

One of the funnier vibes this week is that the coaching staffs seem more at ease with each other than do the rabid online portions of their respective fan bases.

53 Comments

Filed under Arkansas Is Kind Of A Big Deal, Georgia Football

Structural integrity

Tell me you don’t know what college football is like without saying you don’t know what college football is like.

“Having only four teams in the C.F.P. is a broken system,” George Kliavkoff, the first-year Pac-12 commissioner, said in an interview this month at Ohio Stadium, hours before Oregon upset Ohio State, which played in last season’s national title game after it won the Big Ten championship.

“Just the way it’s set up, it’s designed — and I don’t think it was on purpose or malignant — but it was designed for the rich to get richer,” added Kliavkoff, whose reservations about the expansion proposal that became public in June helped slow its approval. “If you got invited to the C.F.P. in one of the first few years, it makes it easier to recruit, which makes it easier to get back to the C.F.P., which makes it easier to recruit, and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Actually, I exaggerate.  Kliavkoff knows better, but he’s got to say something to justify running out the playoff field to twelve.  He’s not expecting that to turn the G5 champ into Alabama’s equal, but he doesn’t care, because it’s really about the moolah his conference has been missing out on without a team in the playoff field.

As the old joke goes, we know what he is.  He’s just haggling over the fee.

15 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Pac-12 Football

Siri, what is the opposite of a victory lap?

Mark Emmert’s Thursday.

Should be a fun day for him.

3 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“You hired a weak man with no backbone who is gonna get run over by all these boosters.”

I think it’s safe to say that Tony Franklin is no fan of the Bryan Harsin hiring.  Or of Bryan Harsin, for that matter.

“Four games in and you crack, and you fire your receivers coach?” he asked. “The best coached group on the field for offense was your receivers. You’re basically firing your receivers coach because your offensive line sucks. Your offensive line is bad.”

He was just getting started.

“You showed the powers that be they run the show,” Franklin said of Harsin. “They make the calls.

“If you want to blame somebody for sucking right now, the way your football team sucks, I got a great idea. Instead of firing Cornelius, or whoever the next guy is you’re going to fire, just quit. Just resign.”

Franklin continued to hammer away at the Tigers, who he said are nothing more than a reflection of their coach.

“The characteristics of this football team are the same as the coach: soft, soft, soft,” he said.

“They aren’t a physical team. I’ve seen physical Auburn football many times in my life as a fan, as a coach.”

Axes to grind at Auburn?  Looks like I’m gonna need a bigger bag of popcorn.

38 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Tony Franklin - Misunderstood Genius

His decision, your consequences

Shot.  (Literally.)

Chaser.

This past weekend was not one that will be remembered fondly in the proud history of Georgia Southern football.

For one, the Eagles lost, 28-20 to Louisiana. The setback was the program’s third straight of the season, and served as the last straw for head coach Chad Lunsford. He was fired Sunday.

As if all that wasn’t enough, a video clip of an Eagles player surfing on top of a bus and chugging a beer extended to him from the crowd made the rounds online.

… AD Jared Benko indicated Sunday that Adcock’s surfing escapade factored into his decision to fire Lunsford.

“I share with our coaches and staff all the time, every day is an evaluation… Everything up to the time of the decision was factored in,” he said.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Southern Football, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

Targeting is just like the weather.

Everybody talks about it, but nobody does jack shit about it.

Among high-ranking college football leaders, there is movement afoot to at least consider an adjustment to the targeting foul’s most harsh individual punishment—the ejection. In fact, the NCAA’s own coordinator of officials, Steve Shaw, and a handful of conference commissioners as well as athletic administrators and coaches, expect the rule to be examined this offseason. By the time the 2022 season kicks off, the hope is that the policy looks different.

There is, however, a problem. At this point, a proposal does not exist to modify the rule that has universal agreement among the sport’s various bodies.

“I have not seen a sophisticated plan and structure,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says. “I will be the first to say I’m open to alternative approaches, but they have to be grounded in eliminating these hits. The ejection and suspension from the next half of a game is a fairly blunt instrument, but it makes the point to change behavior.”

That point is significant, at least in the sense that the NCAA knew it had to come up with something to blunt the threat of litigation over serious football injuries.  And it appears to have been successful in changing behavior.

Through the first three weeks of the 2021 season, officials called targeting 105 times. However, 45 of those were overturned on replay. Sixty targeting fouls were enforced in 243 games for a rate of 0.25, or one targeting call every four games. That is in line with last year’s data (0.27), which featured the highest targeting rate since at least 2016, when there was a targeting foul enforced in about every six games (0.17).

By regularity rate among all fouls, targeting ranks about 15th, or in the top one-third percentile, says Shaw, well behind leaders like false start (2.5 a game) and offensive holding (2.4).

… Last year only nine players committed multiple targeting fouls during the season: seven committed two and two players were flagged three times. Those who commit a third targeting foul in a single season are suspended one game. “That’s an indicator, the small numbers, that the rule is working,” Shaw says.

The problem with targeting isn’t calling it.  It’s punishing the penalized player, and hence the team, with a half-game suspension that has folks up in arms.

“It’s an unbelievably costly penalty to young people. Every game, I’m heartbroken for those kids,” says Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. “It’s time for us to try something different.”

Oh, puh-leeze, Todd.  Dry those doing it for the kids crocodile tears before you embarrass yourself any further.

Here’s the problem.  If you try something different that lessens the impact of the penalty, you run the risk that behavior doesn’t change.  And splitting the baby, which some have proposed, adds its own set of issues.

It’s why Berry and the coaches’ association believe targeting should be a two-part penalty. His proposal would create a Targeting 1, which would result in only a 15-yard penalty. Targeting 2, a more malicious hit with intent to strike an opponent’s head, would carry a 15-yard penalty plus the standard ejection.

Several athletic administrators who serve on various NCAA governance committees agree as well—the two-part penalty is the way to go. “There is a significant amount of support for it,” Berry says.

But not everyone is on board.

A two-part foul injects extra subjectivity into the rule, making an official’s job more difficult. They’d spend more time dabbling in the gray area, attempting to determine whether a player had malicious motives.

“I don’t know how you determine intent,” says MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, who supports an examination of the rule. “The foul has nothing to do with intent.”

Nothing says college football administration like adding a complexity to the game that lets people complain even more about officiating.  That’s why I wouldn’t bet against this happening.

26 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Kirby Smart giveth, and Kirby Smart taketh away.

Gosh, remember those heady times just *** checks notes *** two days ago, when we were told that Tykee Smith and Darnell Washington were good to go for the Arkansas game?

Not so fast, my friends.

Now, I don’t know if this is a case of Kirby playing doctor when he shouldn’t have, or if he’s engaging in some three-D chess moves with his old pal Sam Pittman.  Either way, I guess we’ll have to wait until Saturday to find out for sure.

32 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football