Category Archives: College Football

“All the girls were accompanied [to games] by Captain Morgan.”

The future of beer sales at college venues, in two quotes:

One:  “We all saw it,” Lyons said. “You see it in pro sports. They control it. People are staying at home, watching on TV, having a cold beer. Now you’re hearing, ‘I want to come [to the game] and have a cold beer.'”

And two:  “We’re not talking about life-changing money,” said Kristi Dosh, a sports business contributor to Forbes. “But expenses have gone up.” 

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“I think you just want to be competitive with everybody else.”

If you’re the Big 12 or the Pac-12 and you’re worried about the spreading revenue gap between you and the Big Ten and SEC, what do you do?

Why, you fret about competitive balance.  And then you start pondering restrictions.

In March, Clemson hired longtime Grayson High coach Mickey Conn to take a position on coach Dabo Swinney’s staff as a senior defensive assistant. Swinney also hired a high-school coach who had developed a powerful team in South Carolina to be the Tigers’ senior offensive assistant.

The hires did not escape the notice of Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson and others, who have seen some schools’ staffs swell in size while others have remained comparatively static.

“It’s turning into basketball because what happens is you go and you hire the high school coaches, and then that helps you in recruiting,” Johnson said.

That particular recruiting tactic aside, the increase and disparity in the size of football staffs has gained the attention of coaches, administrators and chief decision makers. By NCAA rules, FBS teams may have 10 full-time coaches and four graduate assistants. While the size of a team’s strength-and-conditioning staff is limited to five, there are no limits on other positions, such as quality control, operations and recruiting…

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is the chairman of the NCAA’s football oversight committee tasked with overseeing competitive issues in the game, said the possibility of a cap is on the table with the committee.

He noted what he termed a growing trend of personnel who aren’t technically coaches but are involved in preparing for games, such as Conn.

“And so I would say that there are some universities where it’s gotten out of control, and I think there’s probably some appetite for some limitations,” Bowlsby said.

Of course, this is Bob Bowlsby speaking, which means things are drawn in infinite shades of gray.

“But then, the other side of it, we aren’t all created equal and we never have been created all equally. You don’t want to go too far down the path of trying to legislate competitive equity, because it’s largely a mirage.”

In short, expect the whining to continue, but little else.  Then again, imagine what things are going to sound like if player payment ever becomes a reality.

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Filed under College Football, The NCAA

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are tanned, rested and ready.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football

‘Enough extortion!’

Jon Solomon also linked to this piece about a certain amount of discontent in the Nebraska fan base over a mandatory seat contribution while the school is awash in TV money.  What adds to the situation is that the school sits on a 53-year sellout streak, something the athletic department deploys as a marketing tool to get fans to pony up.

John: “I hate the sellout streak. It’s been overinflated since the ‘Bill Callahan Experiment,’ when tickets ended up on StubHub or in the hands of some guy on the street corner. It wasn’t the everyday fan buying those tickets.

“What really makes me hate the streak are those signs at the stadium: ‘Through these gates pass the greatest fans in college football.’ It’s a guilt trip from the A.D.’s office. … Don’t tell me I don’t love my team just because I won’t fall for what amounts to ‘emotional extortion’ in an attempt to separate me from my cash in the name of preserving this farce of a streak. Like any relationship, it works both ways.

“I predicted the East Stadium expansion would one day bite the athletic department. That day is fast approaching as more and more people say, ‘Enough extortion!’ and all of those new seats start going empty. It’s time for the streak to end so the relationship between fan and team can begin anew.”

I don’t think the streak is in any real jeopardy yet.  As the article notes, there are only about 1,000 tickets outstanding, something that can be attributed to a little more supply hitting the home market last season due to a policy change.  It’s not like there are a helluva lot of other Saturday afternoon entertainment options in Lincoln, Nebraska, either.

But if you read some of the comments in that piece, there are a few themes touched on there that we’ve heard apply in other college stadiums.  If there’s a canary in the coal mine, you wonder how many ADs can hear it chirping.

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Filed under College Football

“Being a football coach doesn’t make me a non-citizen.”

There’s an interesting story at USA Today about CFB head coaches endorsing political candidates.

On the one hand, I kind of sympathize with Mike Leach, who endorsed Donald Trump earlier this year, when he says,

“I think people in general are afraid to take a position on things, and I think it’s sad that our country drifted in that direction,” Leach said. “Some of that started with political correctness. You know, nobody is allowed to say anything unless everybody agrees on it, and we have to guess whether or not they’re going to agree on it before we ever say it. That’s ridiculous. That’s not the country we signed on for and that’s not why not we say the Pledge of Allegiance and have the First Amendment.”

On the other hand, I get this approach, too.

At Texas A&M, the employment contract for football coach Kevin Sumlin says that Sumlin “will not publicly endorse any political figure or cause.” This has been a university policy for A&M employees since 2008.

“The rationale is that coaches are state employees, and they cannot be seen as attempting to influence, elections or political donations,” said Jason Cook, senior associate athletics director at A&M.

Besides, I can see how it would be bad for business.  Would Georgia have gotten the change to the open records law it sought if Kirby Smart were an open-throated Bernie Sanders supporter?

43 Comments

Filed under College Football, Political Wankery

The disillusionment of Stewart Mandel

You know, a few weeks ago, suddenly realizing that my old Twitter intro about the Coaches Poll was anachronistic, I updated it with this sentiment:

Sometimes it feels like college football is that girlfriend you were crazy about who dumped you for some rich dude nobody really liked.

Events of the past week or so haven’t improved my mood.

It appears I’m not alone in feeling like that, as evidenced by Mandel’s open letter to college football.  I won’t say he’s as far along in his pessimism as I am – I don’t know how anyone can characterize conference realignment as a harmless development that “didn’t make tailgating on a fall Saturday or watching 14 straight hours of football any less enjoyable” – but there’s much of what he says that resonates with me, including this beauty:

And you know what’s really maddening about college athletics leaders? That some are more willing to forgive a football player for striking a woman than they would if that same player wanted to transfer to another school.

Some second chances are better than others, as long as it’s a coach making the decision.

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Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

“What are we going to do to take our game back?”

Believe me, I get this.  I really do.

But when I read this, I wonder if there’s anything people with good intentions can do that’s really going to make enough of a difference.  Because the people in charge certainly aren’t rushing forward to do it, and the people with money aren’t pushing them to do so.

I mean, start with Seth Emerson’s summary of the SEC’s week that was.  And that’s just in a week.  Add to that Brian Cook’s snark

Let’s recap events in the SEC since Greg Sankey went on his smarm offensive about satellite camps:

… and that’s just one conference over the past few months.  Also, let’s not forget the dumbassery consuming the Big 12 right now as it ineptly tries to maximize its revenue stream, or the way the Pac-12 managed to butcher itself with the debacle over the vote the conference cast.

The only reason Jim Delany isn’t in the discussion is because he’s kept his head down and mouth shut for a while.  Perhaps he took enough heat for his “we’ll drop the Big Ten to Division III” nonsense to last him.

As I’ve said before, the people running college athletics are modern day Jed Clampetts —  not particularly worldly folks who managed through sheer luck to find lots of oil on their property.  The main difference between them and Jed is that Jed never felt that his luck made him any smarter.

The only way the people in charge of college sports are going to feel the heat is if there’s a major disruption to the cash flow that can be traced to our disgust.  If you think the idea of a fan strike is a legitimate possibility, could you let the folks at ThankKenStarr.com know?  Just asking for a friend.

48 Comments

Filed under College Football