Category Archives: College Football

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?

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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.

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Filed under College Football

They’ll decide when you’ve paid your dues, kid.

While I’m on my righteous indignation kick this morning – gee, it’s great to be back from vacation – tell me who comes off better in this exchange:

Akeel Lynch went from starter to backup at Penn State last season as freshman Saquon Barkley emerged as one of the best running backs in the country.

Facing the prospect of spending most of his final season of college eligibility on the sideline, Lynch decided to take advantage of an NCAA rule that allows graduates to transfer and be immediately eligible to play.

“I felt like I served my time at Penn State. I helped them get through the sanctions. I realized that my football skills weren’t needed at Penn State and Nevada was one of those schools where I could use my skills,” said Lynch, who has been accepted to the Reno school’s master’s in educational leadership program…

“I just think it’s got a lot of phoniness to it,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who is also the chairman of the NCAA’s football oversight committee. “If it’s about going out and employing a hired gun to come in and be a player, then that’s one set of discussions. If it’s really about continuing to pursue education, the statistics indicate that’s not happening.”

Bowlsby, of course, is the guy who leads the conference that initially voted to deny a year of eligibility to a walk-on who transferred, then voted again to leave that rule in place, until finally, after realizing how bad the optics looked, voted one more time and changed the rule, albeit with a twist.

… Instead of allowing all walk-ons to transfer regardless, the reps amended the original proposal, allowing only walk-ons without written scholarship offers from their original schools to transfer without losing a season of eligibility. If the walk-on elected to transfer after being offered a scholarship from the original school, then the player would face the league’s same eligibility restrictions that apply to scholarship players.

That’s mighty decent of them.  And even with that, there were still three no votes.  Why?  “The opposition to the first proposal was centered on concern that without any restrictions, schools within the Big 12 would begin to recruit one another’s walk-ons with the promise of scholarships.”

Gee, Bob, I must have missed all the hand-wringing over continuing to pursue education there.  Evidently, kids shopping for better opportunities for themselves is anti-academics.  If, by academics, you mean control, that is.  Just ask James Franklin.

“I think the thing that’s probably concerning to administrators, commissioners, school presidents is: What are we doing?” Franklin said. “Are we truly offering another educational opportunity somewhere else or is this strictly a football decision?”

Notice how nobody seems concerned about whether the student-athletes are concerned.  Nor is anyone accusing coaches who object to such transfers of making strictly football decisions.

Which brings us to the noble defender of all things good in college football, Greg Sankey.

In the Southeastern Conference, if a graduate transfer does not complete the graduate program, the player’s school cannot enroll another athlete under the exception for three years.

“That is a way to say to our universities, ‘Bring people in at the graduate level who are serious about going to school,'” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

If “serious about going to school” is the measure of all things student-athletes, there ought to be a lot more docking going on than just for your graduate player transfers, big guy.  I’m not sure how many SEC programs could field men’s basketball teams if Sankey were serious.

But that’s the great thing about being a college sports administrator.  You can utter all kinds of bullshit and never get seriously called on it.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., College Football

Just another game

You take for granted that television has a special place for traditional neutral site games like Georgia-Florida, Army-Navy and the Red River Shootout Showdown… er, what’s that, you say?

A start time for the Oct. 8 Red River Showdown between OU and Texas in Dallas has not been announced, but the game will be televised by FS1.

Damn, Texas-Oklahoma relegated to cable.  Is nothing sacred anymore?

As a sidenote, here’s the current list of college football TV offerings for the coming season.

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Filed under College Football