Category Archives: Blowing Smoke

Can’t lose what you never had.

Bert wants the world to know he’s not really interested in signing high maintenance kids… you know, the ones that are really good.

“I want guys that leave campus and know this is what they want to be a part of. I want guys that maybe come back two or three times and say, ‘This is where I’m going.’ If they have to pick a hat, release the balloons and cut the cake on Signing Day, I probably don’t have time for them. Not to say that’s always the case, but it’s the direction I’ve leaned during my head coaching career.”

Uh huh.  Like you’ve had the choice, brah.

One day, he and Paul Johnson ought to team up and host a recruiting show.  That would be amusing.

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Filed under Bert... uh... Bret Bielema, Blowing Smoke

Mark Emmert has a bridge he’d like to sell you.

I think the technical term for this is boolcheet:

NCAA President Mark Emmert says the association agreed to a settlement with Penn State to ensure that $60 million in fines paid by the school could finally be distributed to victims of sexual abuse.

Emmert added Friday that the settlement was not an acknowledgement the NCAA overreached by getting involved in the Jerry Sandusky child-molestation case.

“The reason that the association and the governing board entered into the these conversations was, again, to make sure that we were moving forward in getting the fine to go to the places that it needed to go,” he said during a news conference during the NCAA convention with University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides and Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz.

“We spent two and half years arguing that and frankly it was likely to continue to go forward as a running debate and discussion.

“Penn State has dutifully put in a trust account $12 million a year for three years and intends to do it for another two years and those dollars have been sitting there idly and that was something we all found very objectionable.”

Yeah, all that money sitting there earning interest.  That really sucks.

If it was that objectionable, guys, why not use the NCAA’s money in the meantime to help?

The reality is much simpler.  Emmert’s organization was being sued for its high-handedness and the revelations coming out from various folks under oath made the NCAA’s behavior even more questionable.  Here’s the tell:

  • Penn State acknowledges the NCAA’s legitimate and good faith interest and concern regarding the Jerry Sandusky matter.

That’s what Emmert got out of the deal.  Even that’s not much, though, because Penn State wasn’t asked to concede anything about the NCAA’s tactics.

So in the end, what are we left with?  Not a whole helluva lot.

Legal issues aside, though, there will never be any winners in the Sandusky case. There will only be bigger losers than others.

Paterno earned back his wins but questions will linger about how much he should have known about a longtime assistant coach who abused children in the locker room showers.

The NCAA’s mishandling of justice should not equate to any large share of vindication.

The Sandusky story is as sordid and disgusting now as it was the day it came to light.

Penn State continues to “win” because the NCAA continues to lose. In part that’s because the NCAA, as an organization, is lost.

Well, maybe it’s a little more than that.

What does it say that the NCAA is more willing to back track on child rape than on payments to a student-athlete?  Priorities, people.

And, finally, if there is one thing proven here it’s that the only thing dumber than Mark Emmert’s impulses is not fighting the NCAA when it sanctions.  That’s some lesson to take away.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, The NCAA

Money makes you crazee.

Today in O’Bannon, we’ve got SEC #2 dude Greg Sankey, who’s engaged in a series of throw them against the wall and see what sticks defenses of the NCAA and amateurism.

This one’s my favorite so far.

So, when they graduate, gettin’ paid no longer stresses ’em out?

Do it for the children, Judge Wilken.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke

What’s all the hubbub, bub?

Mark Emmert is Cocoon Man.

Despite recent saber rattling from Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive that resuscitated talk of a separate division for the 65 wealthiest athletic departments, NCAA president Mark Emmert told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday he remains confident the current framework for a new governance structure under the Division I umbrella will be approved in August.

“The reality is, they’re not that far apart on the various ends of that and I’m pretty confident the whole thing is going to work out and probably be successful,” Emmert said following a closed-door meeting with more than 100 Division I athletics directors at the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention.

Now while I don’t doubt that in the end the little guys cave and Slive and Company get what they want, the idea that there’s an even-level set of negotiations going on and everyone’s just working on smoothing out a few loose ends is humorous, to say the least.

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, The NCAA

“So targeting didn’t ruin the game.”

C’mon, man.

“We got a lot of people saying, Oh you’re ruining the game, this is killing the game. … Y’all probably can figure it out, but there weren’t many years more exciting in college football,” Shaw said.

If it worked so well, why did they change the rule five minutes after the season ended?

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Filed under Blowing Smoke

Stacey Osburn’s talking points are cheap.

If you’ve been disappointed by the NCAA’s consistent unwillingness to recognize the reality behind the recent NLRB ruling and the many antitrust complaints it’s in the process of defending, this isn’t likely to improve your spirits.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said it’s the association’s responsibility to “provide accurate and timely information on matters impacting college sports. Our members requested facts and data on pay-for-play because there was so much misinformation in the media, based in part on public statements from those who are advancing the union movement and those who have brought suit against the NCAA.”

So what kind of spin… oops, “facts and data” does Stacey have for us?

Well, there’s repetition of the irrelevant:

“We know we have work to do. But do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? That’s not the message I want to send.”

“Do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? That’s not the message I want to send.”

I thought one of the main reasons you went to college was to enhance your earnings ability.  I wasn’t aware there was supposed to be a restriction on when you were allowed to start reaping the rewards of that enhancing – at least there isn’t for anyone in college who isn’t subject to the NCAA.

There’s love or money and nothing in between.

“The overwhelming majority of student-athletes play college sports as part of their educational experience and because they love their sport, not to be paid a salary.”

If only Stacey’s bosses, conference commissioners and coaches felt the same way.

A little mea culpa

“Student-athletes should not have to worry about their scholarships being pulled if they are injured or ill.”

I’m sure you’ll get right on that.

And of course, a supporting cast providing a steady dose of denial of reality.  Dabo Swinney says, “We’ve got enough entitlement in this country as it is”, but proceeds to advocate giving kids a stipend.  (And since when is doing more to prevent concussion problems an entitlement?)  Mike Slive doesn’t appreciate anyone threatening to screw with the revenue stream he’s spent so much effort on generating.  Baylor’s athletic director – his school is private, by the way – commands the tide to roll back:  “In my view, student-athletes are not employees. They attend a university to earn a degree and participate in the sport they love.”  Larry Scott and Jim Delany believe in ongoing dialogue with student-athletes, not unionization, because meaningful dialogue with parties who have less power has always been a hallmark of Jim Delany’s management style.

I could go on, but, jeez, this is depressing.  There’s a historical precedent to what college athletics is facing in what MLB went through when Marvin Miller engineered the rise of the players’ union, and, along with a little help from Andy Messersmith’s agent, the end of the reserve clause, and it seems like the NCAA and the commissioners couldn’t care less about learning any lessons from that.  I can’t help but continue to feel that Emmert, Slive, Delany and all their cohorts think they’re a lot shrewder business people than they are.  And certainly the presidents and chancellors they work for aren’t nearly as shrewd as the lawyers who are fighting over the right to pick their bones.

This isn’t going to end well for some folks.  But, talking points!  Hey, that worked well for Baghdad Bob, right?

24 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Northwestern doesn’t really care if you can play football, young man.

All you need to know about Northwestern’s 55-page opus appealing the NLRB ruling is this one sentence on page twelve:

Contrary to the Regional Director’s findings, Northwestern scholarship football student-athletes are not “initially sought out, recruited and ultimately granted scholarships because of their athletic prowess on the football field.”

Hey, color me convinced.

11 Comments

Filed under Blowing Smoke, Look For The Union Label