Category Archives: Academics? Academics.

Check out the big brain on Brad.

Interesting trend depicted here…

Maybe kids have just gotten smarter.  Or maybe there’s a growing realization among football student-athletes that there’s a path to having some control over their collegiate careers.  I wonder which… damn, I hate these Occam’s razor puzzles!



Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Today, in the wild, wild west

If you’re looking for the best sky-is-falling take on the revised NCAA transfer rules, which, remember, aren’t even binding on the conferences, this baby should be right up your alley.

Imagine it’s December 2019.

A wide receiver just caught a 40-yard pass on the first drive of the season finale, straddling the sideline and setting up first and goal for Arkansas State University.

Now imagine coaching staffs assembled across the country — in Ann Arbor, in Tuscaloosa, in Fayetteville — watching the game around conference tables, taking notes: Good size, great hands/balance, UNDERCLASSMAN.

The Red Wolves receiver is named the bowl game’s MVP. The coaching staffs click their TVs off and scroll through their cellphone contact lists for the receiver’s high school coach or mentor. By the time the team bus returns to Jonesboro, the receiver has made up his mind.

He walks into the coaches office and declares his intention to transfer. Within days, the news breaks on social media, and by the time the 2020 season kicks off, the receiver is catching passes in a Power 5 team’s uniform.

No sitting out a year. No restrictions.

This hypothetical isn’t possible today, but the NCAA took a step in that direction when its Division I Council on Wednesday eliminated the requirement that athletes have to receive permission from their athletic departments to transfer and receive financial aid from another school.

The change was in the works for a while, sparked by examples such as Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder blocking receiver Corey Sutton last year from transferring to as many as 35 schools. Snyder received widespread blow back before he finally allowed Sutton to transfer to Appalachian State.

Wednesday’s rule was proposed by an NCAA committee called the Transfer Working Group. But back in April, the Division I Committee on Academics — yeah, a lot of committees — asked the Transfer Working Group to draw up another rule that would allow players to transfer to other institutions and play immediately if they have a GPA between 3.0 and 3.3.

Not just in football. Basketball. Baseball. Bowling.

Thus would begin the age of collegiate free agency.

Cue ominous prairie dog.

I could spend quite of bit of bandwidth knocking down his specific concerns — so could most of you, I suspect — but there’s one in particular I’m really shaking my head over, for reasons that will become apparent.

And there won’t be a sheriff in all the country who could enforce the GPA requirement.

Just as players could skate around it by taking easy classes, coaches could sabotage their players by enrolling them in tough ones.

“You don’t think some coaches are going to go, ‘Let’s put him in Microbiology II so we can bring his GPA down?’ ” UCA men’s basketball Coach Russ Pennell. “It’s going to be some crazy stuff to try and regulate that within your own house.”

Russ, that’s some cool stuff there — a coach is going to enroll a kid against his/her will into some tough class and in the same breath it’s going to be hard for the coach’s own athletic department to regulate that?  Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but that’s probably not a program the kid should have committed to in the first place.

In any event, those of you who are convinced that making student-athletes conform to the general standards of admittance of a given school is the silver bullet that will save amateur collegiate sports, how exactly will that work at a school with crappy academic standards and (for the sake of argument) student-athletes and coaches seeking to manipulate the system?  Just askin’.


Filed under Academics? Academics., It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, The NCAA

In APR-land, children do it for you.

What a country!

The recent classroom performance of Arizona State athletes will look good for the university — and even better for athletics director Ray Anderson. He will get nearly $350,000 in bonuses based on how well Sun Devils teams did in the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Rate figures it released Wednesday…

Among those also getting APR bonuses are:

North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams: $75,000 for a perfect 1000 APR that comes in the aftermath of an academic scandal at the university that included allegations of improprieties by men’s basketball players but resulted in no NCAA sanctions.

Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari: $50,000 that is only bonus he can received under the terms of his contract.

Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl: $150,000.

Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn: $75,000.

Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson: $100,000.

Florida State AD Stan Wilcox: $17,000 — a total based on him getting $1,000 for each team that had an APR above 950. 17 of FSU’s 18 teams were at 964 or greater. The football team was at 941.

Last fall, Louisville’s athletics department confirmed that football coach Bobby Petrino would be getting the $500,000 bonus called for under his contract if his team’s APR is at least 935 (the final figure, announced Wednesday, was 977). Petrino’s APR bonus, if he achieves it, increases the bonus he gets if the Cardinals go on to play in a bowl game.

If there was ever a time for a Steve Spurrier quip about Auburn academics, this would be it.


Filed under Academics? Academics., It's Just Bidness

Fellas, if you’re not too busy this Saturday…

Jerrell Powe was an Ole Miss defensive lineman who played for the Nuttster, which give you some indication of the time frame involved here.  To his credit, he completed his degree this spring semester.  Like any excited graduate, he wants others to share in his graduation ceremony.

This, in particular, is very thoughtful.

The obvious point here being if financial conditions were a bit more favorable, some football players wouldn’t feel the same pressure to jump ship for a pro career before finishing college.  That’s a lesson an organization that relentlessly pounds the message that it’s there for student-athletes to succeed in something other than sports hasn’t bothered to learn.


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

“I think everything is on the table for discussion.”

That’s a quote for a situation where it’s usually a sign that nothing’s been agreed on, and in the case of the NCAA, that’s a wise place to start.

It’s one thing to sense a need to be fair about the NCAA transfer rules.  It’s another to actually come up with a change to those that’s palatable enough for the various interest groups to swallow.

To give you an idea of how far off the rails things are going with regard to the latter point, consider the AFCA’s latest brainstorm.

As the NCAA continues to consider changes to its transfer rules, the American Football Coaches Association’s board of trustees has come up with another idea:

Require athletes to sit out a year of competition after transferring – as is currently the rule for college football. But if the athlete graduates, give him an extra season of competition.

Todd Berry, the AFCA’s executive director, said the AFCA’s trustees, made up of active coaches from all levels of college football, were unanimous in their support of the idea during their annual meeting this week at the Hyatt Regency Gainey Ranch.

The AFCA’s proposal is not official. But Berry said he and the trustees would present the idea at their respective conference meetings, which take place this month (six conferences – the Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, American, Mid-American and Mountain West – are meeting this week at the Hyatt Regency).

“If a player graduates, they get the year back,” Berry said. “We think it’s going to be pretty palatable to the majority of the groups out there.”

Actually, no.  There’s a rather large sticking point.

The AFCA’s proposal seems like a long shot because it could give some athletes the opportunity to have five years of competition over six years of college. Current NCAA rules allow athletes to compete for four years while being in college for five.

Justin Sell, the South Dakota State athletic director who is leading the NCAA’s transfer working group, said opening the door to five years of competition would have ramifications beyond transfers and might not be something the working group can handle.

“That’s an overarching discussion that might be outside our purview,” Sell said. “If you’re going to change the model in total that changes everything.”

Now I don’t think Berry and his constituents are idiots.  They know what the ramifications are as to what they’re proposing here.  They also know the NCAA isn’t likely to accept something that far-reaching.  It does make for a nice attempt to use the ol’ doing it for the kids excuse as a way to throw a little sand in the gears of the NCAA’s working group, though.

Not sure if it’s needed, in that the working group seems to have plenty of obstacles of its own choosing to overcome.

The transfer working group is trying to come up with a package of reforms it can present to the Division I Board of Directors this summer, and hopefully have in place for the next school year.

The areas in which there appear to be agreement involve eliminating the ability of schools to block a player from transferring or dictate where a player goes. Proposals that would stiffen penalties for tampering or improper recruiting have also made progress and have support.

The rest is still being worked out. The working group last month said in a statement it was still considering whether athletes in all sports should be required to sit out a season after changing schools, the way football and basketball players now do. Some sports, such as volleyball and golf, allow a one-time exception for athletes to transfer and play immediately.

Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said he has doubts about one-size-fits-all-sports transfer rules, including the AFCA’s idea.

“I would support the conversation, but I think it’s got to be sport-by-sport,” Hocutt said. “I don’t think it can be a discussion that encompasses all 17 sports that we have at Texas Tech.”

Translation:  if the sport isn’t a revenue generator, there isn’t much of a problem with transfers.  Gee, who woulda thunk?  Reform is just around the corner, peeps!


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Monday morning buffet

Good morning, campers!  Don’t forget to pick up a tray on your way to the buffet line.

  • At 82,184, Georgia finished second in spring game attendance.  (Although I’m not really sure how they did the count.)
  • Nebraska, which finished first, made serious bank in the process.  (You’re probably thinking what I’m thinking right now.)
  • This is encouraging“We’ve seen prospects come out of academically inclined schools where the classwork is especially challenging and they had no edge over prospects who came out of other type schools that were not so highly rated academically.”
  • Nick Saban doesn’t have time for this (bull)shit.  In certain circles, that is referred to as “coaching”.
  • Every time I see a blurb like this, I think back to how much Bellamy and Carter abused Notre Dame’s offensive tackles last season.
  • Is Jeremy Pruitt simply frustrated at running a program that isn’t at the same level he’s been used to over the past few seasons?  If so, don’t look for him to relax in 2018.
  • Here’s a handy guide to college football venues where you can buy beer during the regular season.
  • The loudest sustained cheering at G-Day went to…


Filed under Academics? Academics., Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules

“I think it’s nuts.”

If there’s one thing that scares me a little, it’s finding out that once in a while I think just like Paul Johnson.

“(If they adopt this proposal), is it in your best interests to make sure all your guys are under 3.3?” said Johnson, who is only verbalizing what every college football coach is thinking. “If you’re allowing a one-time transfer rule and tying it to a high enough GPA or whatever, what are you telling the schools who don’t want to lose their guys? What are they going to do, keep them from being a 3.3? You know how people are going to do it. They’re going to do what’s in their best interests.”

If the proposal passes, maybe everyone will make their players take calculus.


Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football, The NCAA