Those of you who think sports and politics don’t mix…
Maybe you’re right.
They’re talking about it — fairly seriously, from what it sounds like.
However, rules changes typically bubble up to the committee from coaches and administrators. The AFCA acts in an advisory role to the NCAA rules committee. The oversight committee vets any changes by the rules committee before approving them.
“I’m excited we’re starting to have this discussion,” said Todd Berry, AFCA executive director. “It looks like the data is skewed where we have more injuries on that play. If that’s the case, we have to look at eliminating the play, modifying the play, change blocking schemes.”
Berry spent 14 years as a head coach. He replaced Grant Teaff this year as the top AFCA executive.
“It’s a very, very, very in-depth conversation of how it [kickoffs] affects the game,” said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen, an AFCA trustee.
Don’t know what they would replace it with, but if they wind up with a straight out place-the-ball-on-the-30-and-go result, what impact would that have on walk-ons? For that matter, what impact would it have on the 85-man scholarship limit? Would you need the same roster size in a world without kickoffs?
Check out Phil Steele’s ranking of experienced Conferences for 2016 based on the average rank of their teams in his Experience Chart:
1. ACC 46.2
2. Mountain West 55.1
3. CUSA 56.0
4. MAC 57.25
5. American 67.5
6. SEC 70.7
7. Pac 12 71.3
8. Big 12 73.2
9. Big 10 73.3
10. Sun Belt 73.8
The gap between the ACC and the rest of the P5 is eye-popping. But not necessarily in a good way.
… The ACC had an average rank of 46.2 while the other four power five teams were in the 70’s. I took it a step further and did the group of five conferences. Their experience rankings were better by conference than the Power 5. I guess the reason for that is fewer players leave early for the draft so they have more seniors.
I suppose you can argue this both ways. The loaded programs lose more players early because they’re loaded, which means they have to regroup, while programs with less highly rated talent keep their players together longer. On the other hand, those loaded programs are more likely to have equally talented players who can step up and fill the openings, while the programs with more returning players are… well, still relying on players who weren’t seen as being as attractive to the NFL, talentwise.
It’s the old question: would you rather play with Alabama’s level of experience or Vanderbilt’s?
Greg Sankey opened the door and this al.com writer walked on through.
Is there anywhere else in our society where the lives of a few young black men mean more to so many white people than the end zone of an SEC football team on a Saturday in the fall?
If you’re being honest, then the answer is no.
I don’t disagree, but I’m not sure how much that does, in and of itself, for Sankey’s aspirations.
“Nelson Mandela once said, and I quote,” Slive repeated, “‘sport has the power to change the world, it has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.'”
Mandela said those words in 2000 in Monaco at the inaugural ceremony for the Laureus World Sports Awards. The SEC wants those words to sink in.
“If you read through those remarks,” Sankey said on Monday, “at the end he says something even more important, I think: ‘Peace is the greatest weapon mankind has to resolve even the most intractable difficulties.
“‘But to be an effective agent for peace, you have to seek not only to change the community and the world. What is more difficult is to change yourself before you seek to change others. Only those who have the courage to change themselves and to know that in all communities without exception there are good men and women who want to serve their communities.'”
Have there been gains achieved through sports? Sure, but they’re limited and mostly for selfish reasons. Bear Bryant’s famous decision to integrate the Alabama football team after getting steamrolled by Southern Cal wasn’t motivated by a desire to change society, but rather by a realization that in order to win at the highest level, Alabama was going to have to have black football players.
Right around the same time Bryant made his decision, we saw one of the most iconic images in the history of American sports.
No question that Sankey’s motives do him credit, but I wonder what we’re doing when we push college athletics forward as a vehicle to save the world. I’m not sure they’re sturdy enough to survive those sorts of expectations.
A few nibbles here, a few there…
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.”
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.