Talk among yourselves.
Talk among yourselves.
Andy Staples ($$) harbors the quaint belief that, somehow, your typical athletic director can be led to a path of reason in making hiring/firing decisions.
… we’ve created a three-question test each AD should self-administer before offering an extension.
1. Did the coach unclog my drain?
2. Did he do anything to deserve more than the agreed-upon price?
3. If I go through with this, how much more money will my employer be on the hook for if I change my mind and need to fire this guy?
Staples’ faith in his fellow man is nice, but faith is all it is. Under the current setup, there is no incentive for said athletic director to behave rationally.
For one thing, as long as there are torrents of money flooding P5 athletic departments coupled with a status quo that doesn’t see a free market-derived share of that money going to the players on the field, there’s going to be a distortion in where any surplus goes. That distortion is happily exploited by the likes of Jimmy Sexton.
For another, how often do we see college presidents hold inept athletic directors accountable for bad hiring/firing decisions, even when those bleed funds from their athletic departments?
The reality is that the hard questions shouldn’t start with the people hiring coaches. They should start with the people hiring the people who are hiring coaches.
Here’s today’s action:
Hopefully nothing else drops off after Clemson-FSU just postponed. Who ‘ya got today?
Andy Staples ($$) recounts the events leading to
Jimmy Sexton hosing South Carolina South Carolina AD Ray Tanner making the decision to reward Will Muschamp with a significant contract extension because he’d just led the ‘Cocks to a national title SEC title divisional title bowl game comeback over Michigan.
The date is Jan. 1, 2018. The town is Tampa, Fla. Michigan is playing South Carolina in the Outback Bowl. This is not the Outback Bowl where Jadeveon Clowney hit Vincent Smith so hard that his helmet popped off and then Clowney cradled the ball with one hand like a mama dragon cradling one of her eggs. This is the Outback Bowl that took place five years later, the one you probably half paid attention to while you waited to watch Oklahoma and Georgia tee it up in the Rose Bowl. In that Michigan-South Carolina Outback Bowl, the Wolverines lead 19-3 until South Carolina scores on a 17-yard Rico Dowdle run with 2:25 remaining in the third quarter.
This sparks a blistering stretch during which the Gamecocks outscore Michigan 20-0 in about six minutes. South Carolina adds a field goal late to cap a 26-19 win that runs the Gamecocks’ record to 9-4 for the 2017 season. The Gamecocks have won six of their final eight — losing only to College Football Playoff participants Georgia and Clemson. Of course, three of those six wins (Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida) are against teams that fired their coaches during the 2017 season…
… Muschamp was hired at South Carolina in December 2015 on a five-year deal that started at $3 million a year and included a $100,000 raise each subsequent year. If Muschamp had been on this deal when he got fired, South Carolina would owe him about $300,000. (Which, lest we get too carried away by the figures, is still a considerable sum.)
But Tanner and company got very excited about that furious close to Muschamp’s second season, a season which ran his record at South Carolina to 15-13 overall and 8-8 in the SEC. They also may have been scared that Muschamp might depart for — where?— Arkansas? Tennessee? There were quite a few jobs open during that hiring cycle, but Muschamp didn’t seem a fit for any of them. And even if he was, couldn’t Tanner just find someone else at that price point to go .500 in the SEC?
Apparently not. Muschamp, who already made $3.2 million a year, received a $1 million a year raise. He also was extended through 2023. The buyout remained 70 percent of the amount remaining on the contract.
And here’s the thing. The reason athletic directors like Tanner routinely get used by agents like Sexton is because there’s so much excess money in the system at the P5 level, since nobody has to pay the hired help anything close to real world wages. That money has to go somewhere and you can only spend so much on waterfalls and barber shops in facilities.
Sure, it’s wasteful, but Tanner’s peers are doing the same thing and why not? It’s not like the money’s gonna run out… er, wait.
The pandemic may be a once in a lifetime event — at least we hope so — but you know what’s not? The possibility, which grows ever stronger, that college athletes are going to get a piece of the pie. And should that happen, people like Tanner are going to be faced with all these ridiculous ticking time bomb coaching contracts that were made in a different economic setting than the one they’ll be facing.
It’s kind of analogous to what Georgia Tech has had to deal with in replacing a head coach who ran the triple option, a lot of short term pain because the personnel infrastructure left behind is wholly unsuited for the new circumstances. Except in this case, instead of wins and losses, you’re looking at profits and losses.
This is why the NCAA and its member schools are fighting player compensation, even third-party NIL compensation, tooth and nail. Once the idea of college athletes receiving payment for their services becomes accepted in the public’s mind, it’s not far at all to realize that the source of such payment will become normalized, too. And the number of athletic departments built to sustain that in the short run can probably be counted on one hand. With a finger or two left over.
Here’s today’s slate of games for your viewing pleasure.
Your pithy observations are welcomed, as always, in the comments.
… if you look closely, what you see is that universities are right now subjecting unpaid athletic workers to precisely the same health risks that are eliciting such outrage every day on network television and social media. The difference with college football? There is nary the commensurate concern.
No one understands these developments better than the players who live them. One Power Five college football player, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, explained it this way: “I mean the whole goal is to make everyone feel like things are normal, which they definitely aren’t. Even as a player who’s living it, you have to remind yourself that this is in no way ‘normal’. What you’re seeing and hearing on TV isn’t the whole story. It’s a patchwork put together in order to resemble what we tell ourselves is what’s normal. It looks and feels good to watch football again, but it doesn’t mean everything occurring behind the scenes is being done right. Protocols are bulls–t. They just keep quiet, to those involved within the program or otherwise, and do everything within their power to get to the next Saturday.”
And why should he fear reprisal? I mean, college football coaches are the most understanding of folks, right?
At Utah State, Coach Gary Anderson made the coercive dynamics as clear as day: “At least in our program, we don’t have an opt out. And it’s not an option. If you opt out, you’re not with us.”
I love college football, but I don’t like the way it’s going about its business this season.
Cast your eyes on this game-winning field goal attempt by Rice. You will never see its like again.
Naturally, the Owls lost the game. 2020, man.
Totally non-Dawg, of course.
Who ‘ya like today?
Today’s slate of games looks like this:
Share your wisdom with us in the comments.
USA Today is out with its annual survey of D-1 head coaching salaries and it’s a sign of the times that the outsized numbers for many don’t even surprise me any more.
But this still does:
Buyout clauses are still booming. This year, at least five coaches would be owed $30 million or more if they were fired without cause by Dec. 1, led by Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($53.1 million). And more than half of Power Five coaches (33) have buyouts of $10 million or more.
“Prudent P5 athletic director” is an oxymoron.