Daily Archives: March 9, 2022

Housekeeping note

I’ve added a new entry to the Lexicon.  You’ll find it in the “M”s.

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Filed under Alabama, GTP Stuff

Pay the man

Don’t try this stunt at home, kids.

Last week, I chatted with Athliance CEO Peter Schoenthal about a few different NIL related topics for Collegiate Sports Connect. Early in that conversation, Schoenthal mentioned something I’ve suspected, but haven’t confirmed. He believes a lot of college athletes aren’t disclosing NIL deals to their compliance departments.

“I’m at the NCAA Convention, and I’m talking a bunch of SAAC (Student Athlete Advisory Council) athletes, and I ask them if they’re disclosing deals. And they’re like…, ‘No.’ And when I ask why not, the answer blew my mind. They said that if we disclose the deals, we’ll have to pay taxes on them. If we don’t disclose, we don’t have to pay taxes on them. And that broke my heart.”

If that’s your game, either you’re getting spectacularly bad advice or you’re letting greed get in the way of reality, because there’s no way you’re going to be able to hide something like that very long.  And when it comes to light, it won’t be pretty.

Individual schools are unlikely to take punitive actions against their own athletes for breaking NIL team policies. The NCAA may not be able to do it either. But the IRS absolutely can. They will not hesitate to slap some major fines on an athlete who didn’t realize that the NIL deal that gave him a new truck also gave him a new taxable asset.

“I do think April 15 is going to be a scary day for a lot of student-athletes, and a lot of people are going to be put on some payment plans going forward,” Schoenthal told me.

Still, in a world where we see college athletes routinely get stopped for expired driver’s licenses, I won’t be surprised at word of the first tax bust.  I only hope Kirby’s on this particular mother with his team.

Matt goes on to highlight a different practice that may have more troubling implications.  And in this case, it ain’t the kids.

Take Horns With Heart, for example. This collective raises money, and then pairs that money to pay athletes to participate in NIL deals with charities. You may have heard of one of those deals, the Pancake Factory, which gives all participating Texas offensive linemen $50,000 to “to make charitable appearances and bring awareness to worthy causes that impact their local communities.” I’m told collectives supporting athletes at other schools are exploring similar models as well.

On its website, Horns With Heart says the organization is a non-profit organization and further identifies itself as a charity. It is unclear if the organization has filed as a 501c3, although there are plenty of typical logistical reasons for why a filing might not show up on a website yet. Horns With Heart did not respond to an email and voicemail requesting clarification.

I am not saying Horns With Heart is breaking any rules here. But I do know some accounting experts have concerns about this particular collective model.

I reached out to Brian Mittendorf, a professor at The Ohio State University who studies accounting practices of non-profits.

“I guess the big catch here is…directly funding students, by itself, isn’t a charitable purpose. You can raise money for student scholarships, and that could be a charitable purpose…but you couldn’t exist as a charity with only the function of funding students.

“In order to keep a 501c3 status, you, as a charity, have to have a charitable purpose. Doing an NIL deal, almost by definition, isn’t a charitable purpose; that’s a market exchange.”

Theoretically, if the IRS or another government regulatory body agreed with that thinking, it could investigate an NIL collective.

Potentially, how serious could that be?  I’m not sure.

Mittendorf told me that while the IRS does have purview over the incorporation status of non-profits, and it does have the ability to audit charities to make sure they’re actually operating for charitable purposes, most of these investigations would happen at the state level. “You’re much more likely to see action by state attorneys general than the IRS on a lot of these questions,” he said.

Yeah, good luck with a state attorney general opening a can of investigative whoop ass on a booster program benefiting State U’s football program.  Still, stranger things have indeed happened…

Let’s just say there are still a few kinks to be worked out.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Things to watch at G-Day

I’m starting to see some spring practice previews popping up and wanted to take note of a couple of position groups.

First, here’s the Dawgs247 early look at the wide receiver position.

What we don’t know: Mitchell and McConkey seem to be in good shape as far as their roles in the offense, with Mitchell fitting in well at the X receiver and McConkey at the Z. Otherwise, a lot as far as the depth chart seems fluid due to last year’s injuries.

Smith showed flashes early in his redshirt freshman season before breaking his leg, and whether or not he’s a full participant this spring he could work his way into a major role by the fall. Any one of the collection of banged-up Bulldogs from 2021 could also emerge better than ever, and you could also watch out for Gilbert, the two freshmen and rising sophomore Jackson Meeks.

What we’re looking for: Much like with the running backs, it’s feasible we see different combinations of receivers out at practice as the coaches determine who fits best where going forward. Given how they established themselves last season, any groups with Mitchell and McConkey in them will be ones worth keeping a close eye on.

It’s also very plausible that what we see this spring doesn’t tell us much about what to expect come fall: besides Mitchell, the only receivers who had receptions at G-Day in 2021 were Demetris Robertson and Steven Peterson.

I’m pretty sure Kearis caught a couple of balls at G-Day, but it’s certainly fair to note that, just like last year, we don’t know what kind of impact injuries may have on this year’s receiving corps.  That includes full recoveries for players like Jackson, Smith and Blaylock, not to mention last year’s MIA Arik Gilbert.

Meanwhile, here’s what Chip Towers has to say about the offensive line’s prospects:

Why do we list four returning starters from an offensive line that is losing senior starters Jamaree Salyer and Justin Shaffer to the NFL draft? This is why: Ratledge would’ve started all season last year had he stayed healthy, and Ericson started the last 14 games of last season and may or may not start any this coming season. But the array of talent and experience that is coming back on Georgia’s offensive front is what makes this a particularly intriguing position group. That they’ll be under the guidance of first-year line coach Stacy Searels makes it even more interesting. For instance, Jones is not listed as a returning starter, though he started four games last year and may be the Bulldogs’ best overall offensive lineman. What’s fairly certain is Jones will start at left tackle. That was made evident in the national championship game against Alabama. It was when Georgia put the 6-4, 315-pound Jones in at left tackle and moved Salyer inside to guard that the Bulldogs got the ball moving in a fourth quarter it outscored Alabama 20-9. Having started games 9 through 12 at left tackle while Salyer was sidelined, Jones is experienced in addition to being skilled. The real intrigue is going to be on the right side of the line. McClendon has been a block of granite at right tackle, starting the last 25 games and playing 84% of the snaps at that position the last two seasons. But, like Salyer, his NFL future might be inside. And the Bulldogs are looking for ways to get 6-7, 330-pound Mims into the mix. That could be at guard or tackle. That will be Job 1 for Searels to figure out, and he’d like to do so during the 15 practice opportunities that encompass spring ball.

I hadn’t considered the possibility of McClendon moving inside, to be honest, but if Mims is ready to take over at right tackle this season, I guess it could happen, although I’m skeptical.  Does Ratledge win his spot back from Ericson?  I said after last year’s G-Day that Ratledge did an excellent job pulling and I know that’s something Monken values highly.  To me, the big questions are (1) left guard and (2) Mims.  And I have no idea at this point how they get answered, especially when you consider there’s a new position coach making decisions.

Your thoughts?

31 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

TFW the smartest people in the room aren’t smart enough

One other thing from that Dennis Dodd article that I wanted to mention in a separate post is this tweet of his I missed when he posted it:

Remember, this is a big issue for the conferences that are nervous about adding more playoff games that mean more wear and tear on college athletes.  The problem is, as Shaw seems to acknowledge, is that college football fans, for some strange reason, like watching college football plays.  As long as the proposed solution is to take a bite out of the actual game play, as opposed to, say, commercial time or replays, it’s probably not going to sit well with the viewing public — even if you try to sell it in the name of player safety.

That these people can’t come up with a first step to grease the skids for playoff expansion should tell you how hard it’s going to be inventing a magic formula that’s all things to all men.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

“If we can’t move, we’re just stuck…”

Dennis Dodd is doing his level best to get my hopes up about the dysfunction surrounding the playoff expansion process.

By the time an expanded playoff potentially begins, the entire sport could be shaken up given ongoing court cases, the growing player empowerment movement and the shaky status of the NCAA itself in overseeing big-time college football.

All of it means the process toward expansion is about to get more — not less — complicated. A timeline that once looked broad now appears crunched.

Sources interviewed by CBS Sports may not agree on all the machinations for future expansion, but they almost unanimously came to the same conclusion: It’s becoming more difficult with each passing day.

“I think any image of smooth water ahead is simply a mirage,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

“If we can’t make decisions because of uncertainty,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey added, “we will never make decisions.”

Be still, my heart.

Not buying it, but I will say this, though:  greed drives the college football train, and while I think that’s a powerful motivator to get ‘er done, Dodd does toss in the one thing that really could throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings.

By that year, when the current CFP contract expires, there is a growing likelihood players will either be directly compensated for their labor or at least have the power to collectively bargain. That alone could reshape the collegiate model. If players are professionalized, it’s easy to envision them sitting across the table with commissioners who oversee the CFP and having a say in expansion.

That’s because the Alston v. NCAA decision rendered by the U.S. Supreme Court further eroded the NCAA’s credibility. In an instant last June, NCAA athletes were basically defined as laborers. Ominously, a National Labor Relations Board initiative seeks to classify athletes as employees.

“I hope the players will be at the table by the time CFP expansion talks resume,” said Michael Hsu, an athlete activist who has filed a complaint with the NLRB that would benefit players. “Players score points and deserve some of the revenue in an expanded format.”

The rich irony of these petty assholes having to deal with an actual “do it for the kids” scenario shouldn’t be lost on anyone.  It certainly wouldn’t be on me.  And it would be just deserts if their routine inability to be proactive bit them in the collective ass again.  Not that you’d catch me complaining about that.

“I fail to believe there is any time in the future that presents less controversy right now,” Bowlsby added. “The more pieces of challenge we can resolve, the better off we’re going to be. [Expansion is an issue] we could have — and should have — gotten behind us.”

But they di’int.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs