“As we have been telling you for some time, Kirby is a spiteful little man…”

Hmmmm… it seems someone’s panties are in a wad because a former assistant coach well-known for successfully employing negative recruiting tactics in support of his then-employer’s program — no complaints at that time, obviously — is now using those very same skills to benefit his own.  Amazing how that works.

Meanwhile, the more interesting takeaway from Bud Elliott’s article is that the teacher apparently is learning from the pupil.

Alabama’s coaches are also using social media en masse for the first time. Insiders think this is a reaction to Georgia’s social media presence.

Coach Kirby Smart has copied the Saban blueprint almost step-for-step, with the exception of social media. Georgia coaches routinely post videos of themselves cutting up, having fun, etc. Alabama isn’t looking to cede its image as the program most resembling the NFL, but it’s now trying to pitch itself as able to have fun as well.

“I think he’s pissed about the perception and narrative that he’s slowing down,” Garcia said. “And I think he’s pissed about finishing No. 6 in the rankings. He won’t say it that way, but every time someone says he can’t do something, there’s a renewed energy.”

Kids are taking notice of the new approach.

“With the social media angle, we’ve never seen that. We’re seeing tweets, graphics, videos,” Garcia said. “The whole ‘Bama Cuts’ thing, you have Julio talking about the Alabama standard. It’s all about recruiting. They’ve always been ahead of the game in every element, except for social media recruiting. And now they’ve jumped up towards the top.”

Saban having fun.  Who’da thunk it?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

When you’ve said “the worst seats in Neyland Stadium”…

… brother, you’ve said a mouthful.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange

Montana is just a state of mind.

It’s good to know we Dawg fans remain on Stewart Mandel’s mind.  Dial up the latest edition of The Audible with Stew & Bruce, starting at the 38-minute mark (listen very carefully at the 46-minute mark) for evidence of that.

It’s nice to be loved. (h/t)

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Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

Today, in it just means more

You know, when Nick Saban chided Alabama fans for not staying in their seats for the entirety of games, I thought it was mockable.  I mean, if you want the fans to stay 60 minutes, give ’em something more than watching your fourth-string quarterback hand off to your fifth-string tailback six times in a row in the fourth quarter of a six-touchdown rout of a cupcake.

When Kirby Smart turned Georgia’s spring game from a pleasant day trip for the fan base into a recruiting mission, I was mildly irritated, but recognized that at least he’s given us something to be excited about and seemed genuinely grateful for our turnout.

As far as Jeremy Pruitt’s bizarre chastisement of UT’s fans?

“To me, it’s kind of like our football team for the fans. The ones that were here, I’m proud they’re here. They’re fired up, ready to get going. And then there were some people that weren’t here, they had legitimate reasons they couldn’t be here. Then there were some people that weren’t here, why weren’t they here? It’s kind of like our football team. I think we all need to look in the mirror and see who we want to be.”

Welp, it sure seems like somebody needs to look in the mirror, alright.

Anyway, I guess that’s part of what comes these days from the Saban coaching tree, so while I can’t say I excuse that line of thinking, at least I get what it’s about.  What I don’t get is what I suppose is the next stage in this — the media taking steps to normalize these coaches’ expectations/demands of their fan bases.  Take, for example, Barrett Sallee’s defense of Pruitt.

Isn’t this what you wanted, Vol fans? Don’t you want the best? Don’t you expect the best? Don’t you want a coach who strives for perfection in every aspect of the program?

That’s what Nick Saban does at Alabama, and that’s what Kirby Smart has implemented at Georgia. Not coincidentally, those are the two teams that played in the College Football Playoff National Championship in January.

Pruitt might not be as successful as either of his two mentors, and certainly has a steeper hill to climb than they do considering the tradition at Alabama and the fertile recruiting ground that exists in Smart’s backyard. But at least he’s following a tried-and-true blueprint that has proven to be successful.

Could he work on his delivery? Maybe. After all, talking down — or even giving off the appearance of talking down — to your own fan base prior to ever coaching a real game is a bold move.

If by “bold” you mean “dick”, I suppose you have a point there, Barrett.  A somewhat creepy point, but a point nonetheless.

Seriously, when did we cross the line from being passionate about a program to being enlisted in Gawd’s Army?  Jeremy Pruitt is being paid nearly four million dollars a year to win football games and that somehow entitles him to make demands on a fan base — a fan base that’s put up with years of mediocre football, by the way — that forks over the bucks that contribute to his paycheck?  What other organized sport approaches its fans like that?

I suppose the next development will be for a coach or his athletic director to blame a sub-par season or recruiting class on inadequate fan support.  And there will probably be some pundit out there ready to stroke his chin and admit there’s something to that excuse.  When the coach or AD gets canned, at least they’ll have a sweet buyout provision to fall back on.  All we fans will get is a guilt trip from the new guy in town.  And then we’ll be told to like it.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Nick Saban Rules

“These reports aren’t published to make people look bad.”

There’s only one thing you can say in response to the tack the NCAA’s lawyer is taking in defending the defamation case filed against it by Todd McNair.

An attorney for the NCAA, Kosta Stojilkovic, blamed McNair’s hard times on the former coach. The attorney dismissed the infraction committee’s punishment against McNair as “moderate” and “one of the lightest penalties” it could issue and “about as low as you can go.” Stojilkovic said “dozens and dozens” of other coaches have suffered worse punishments and been able to find work, singling out basketball coaches Bruce Pearl and Kelvin Sampson…

Both attorneys covered familiar ground. The disputed phone call between would-be sports agent Lloyd Lake and McNair in January 2006 that is at the heart of the NCAA’s case. Whether McNair knew Bush received extra benefits. Whether NCAA investigators “botched” the case and misrepresented testimony, as Broillet alleged. And the email from Shep Cooper, the NCAA infractions committee liaison who described McNair as a “morally bankrupt criminal” to another committee member in February 2010.

Stojilkovic said the infractions process involving McNair “were not perfect” and “we’re going to take responsibility for those mistakes throughout this trial.” He added that Cooper’s email was “completely unacceptable” — while downplaying Cooper’s importance — and maintained it didn’t impact the case’s outcome.

During Mark Emmert’s deposition earlier this month, Stojilkovic said, the NCAA president called the email “ill-advised”…

Citing Bruce Pearl as your poster boy for opportunity?

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“Amateurism is whatever the NCAA says amateurism is at any particular moment.”

Terrific summary from Jon Solomon about how we got here that’s well worth your time to read.

While speaking at the Aspen Institute in 2016, NCAA president Mark Emmert raised concerns that University of Texas swimmer Joseph Schooling had recently received a $740,000 bonus from Singapore for winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. Schooling didn’t just win gold; he was Singapore’s first Olympic gold medalist and beat the great Michael Phelps.

This payment was perfectly permissible under NCAA rules, which since 2001 have allowed US Olympians to compete in college while pocketing tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes six figures) from the United States Olympic Committee for winning gold, silver, or bronze. The NCAA added an exception in 2015 to also allow international athletes to receive bonuses.

Still, a college swimmer making nearly three-quarters of a million dollars concerned some NCAA members because, Emmert said, “that’s a little different than 15 grand for the silver medal for the US of A. … The members at that time hadn’t anticipated this phenomenon of like the Singaporean kid getting paid a very large amount.”

Never mind that NCAA rules allow two-sport athletes to be paid professionals in one sport while competing in a different college sport, such as Kyle Parker’s $1.4 million baseball signing bonus while serving as Clemson’s quarterback in 2010. Or that tennis players can receive up to $10,000 per year in prize money (and additional cash on a per-event basis) before or during college. Or that college football players can receive bowl gifts up to $550 in value, which can involve players selecting high-tech electronics from a gift suite or receiving a Visa gift card. Or that schools have student-assistance funds to help athletes financially, including paying five-figure insurance policies for elite athletes who want to protect their professional futures.

Solomon actually missed one incongruity.

Fortnite: Battle Royale became a viral hit when it was released in 2017. (Even Logic and Drake are playing.) Now, it may be joining the ranks of other popular games like League of Legends, OverwatchCounter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Rocket League in becoming a competitive collegiate e-sport. Ashland University’s team won’t just be playing among themselves either. A number of universities including the University of Akron and Kent State University have their own varsity e-sports program. Students on the team can gain up to $4,000 in scholarship funds.

E-sport players can earn monetary prizes in competitions and receive scholarship funds, too.  With word that a new college football video game may be on the horizon, maybe one day we can witness the absurdity of college kids with e-sport scholarships making money playing a video game involving student-athletes who are prohibited from doing the same.

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Filed under The NCAA

Envy and jealousy, bumper sticker edition

This, quite frankly, is brilliant.

I only wish I’d have thought of it first.  Well played, sir.

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Filed under Envy and Jealousy