Believe it or not, Duke opens spring practice today.
Category Archives: College Football
I don’t want to be part of a world in which somebody feels a serious need to address a question like this. College football should be zealously guarding every difference between it and the pro game, if for no other reason than the enormous parity gap between the two.
And let me just say that if you’re looking for the canary in the coal mine about college football completely selling out to broadcast interests, this is a pretty good choice:
One change I fear may one day come to the game is the addition of the two-minute warning. Without attempting to give any money-hungry power conference commissioners any ideas, the addition of a two-minute warning in college football would quickly help bring in more revenue for conferences and television partners, and would likely be something given quick approval when the idea of more easy money is brought to the table. How it has not happened yet considering the rising media packages and contracts in recent years is really surprising to me.
Amid the tongue bath Dennis Dodd lavishes on college football in this ridiculous piece (“Off the field, [the NFL] was a swirling disappointment.” – Seriously, college football, you want to throw those kind of rocks?) you’ll find this rather depressing comment from Arizona State’s AD:
“I think it’s reasonable when you have the College Football Playoff and results from the first year,” said Ray Anderson, Arizona State’s AD. “We can at least reduce the gap between us and the NFL. In the long term who knows which product may be more appealing to the consumer?”
Anderson comes from the ranks of the NFL (he used to be employed by the Falcons), so he knows from where he speaks. Except who gives a shit about college football closing the gap with the NFL?
Sadly, I think we all know who does.
There’s always something.
- Phil Steele updates his returning starters list here. And here’s the list broken down by the P5 conferences. Got to wonder what 2015 holds in store for Mississippi State and Florida.
- In case you were wondering if offenses were better than ever last season, you’re right.
- Bleacher Report using Michael Carvell’s click bait to ask the musical question “Is Georgia’s 2015 Recruiting Class in Danger of Collapsing?” = troll squared. At least there’s no slideshow.
- Hey, there’s a Twitterfest bitch slapping contest!
- Georgia Tech is looking for donor support to provide cost-of-attendance stipends that will be given to scholarship athletes starting in the fall. No doubt Greg McGarity is watching this with a keen eye.
- Best recruit troll of the year.
- Jeff Long will serve as the chairman of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee again in 2015, based on “Long’s ability to communicate the thinking of the committee to the fans”, per Bill Hancock. I swear, you can’t make this stuff up.
- Gentry Estes has ten questions for Georgia’s upcoming preseason. (And wouldn’t it be refreshing if the answer to the last one was “yes”?)
Football Bowl Association executive director Wright Waters said that because, as you can probably guess, overall bowl attendance is down for the fifth straight year. And Waters thinks that really shouldn’t matter too much in the vast scheme of things.
“I’m not saying it’s not important. But some of our bowl games exist purely for the experience, and I think that’s where we probably need to focus as much as anything.
“I don’t think you can have a discussion about the health of bowls and limit it to attendance and payouts and ratings. If the attendance is down 4 percent and that’s the same as the regular season, I think it just speaks to the larger issue that we’ve got to get our arms around as an industry.”
He’s right, but not for any of those reasons. He’s right because of this:
Even though ticket demand remained relatively low for many bowls, millions of viewers keep watching them. ESPN’s New Year’s Eve audience averaged 7.1 million viewers, up from 4.6 million the date in 2013 with far less-attractive games.
Even ESPN has some tinkering around the edges to do, though.
However, the Fiesta’s audience of 7.4 million was its lowest in Nielsen records and the Orange’s 8.9 million viewership was one of its lowest on record. The Peach dropped 43 percent by moving from primetime to an afternoon kickoff on Dec. 31.
So much for that Boise State national audience. Or Georgia Tech’s, for that matter.
This is just so much wishful thinking on Waters’ part.
This postseason marked the first time many conferences had more control over bowl matchups. Ticket allotments that schools are required to purchase from bowls were significantly reduced in new contracts.
“I think we got into a situation where the bowls were largely dependent on the teams for ticket sales,” Waters said. “I think you’ve got to see bowls getting back in the business of selling the two conferences in their game and go back to the old way of really marketing it locally.”
Good luck with that, fellas. The conferences and Mickey ain’t going for that anymore.
Andy Schwarz does a terrific job of exposing the bullshit behind the insistence that big time college athletics are almost universally run in the red. (If the economics are truly that dire, why do schools keep making the jump to D-1 sports?)
Even better, he makes three proposals for more honest accounting.
Step 1: Split athletic departments into two parts, one for football and basketball, one for everything else.
In essence, this splits profit generation from how those profits are spent, and quickly disentangles the false connection between football profits and field hockey expenses.
If the two departments were split into, say, the Football and Basketball Department (FBD) and the Olympic Sports Department (OSD), the schools themselves (and Congress, if it so chooses) could make better decisions about whether FBDs were being run efficiently enough to generate sufficient profit, or whether the people in charge of the FBDs were wasting money, perhaps by paying themselves too much…
Step 2: Cash accounting only.
Schools should use, and publish, cash-based accounting for their FBDs. No accrual accounting, no cost allocations, and no transfer prices. Unless an activity results in cash flowing out of the university (and not just from one university department to another), the FBD pays nothing for it.
Note: that means paying nothing for scholarships. Why? When the school charges the athletic department for a scholarship, no actual money leaves the university. The price it assigns for managerial purposes is ripe for funny-money bookkeeping…
Step 3: Provide honest incentives and use public scrutiny to keep things that way.
Once we have true measures of cash flow generated, schools should base the salary of their FBD directors on how much money they hand to the university in cash flow each year–or better yet, on a five-year average to avoid short-term gaming. To wit: the University of Texas’s FBD director could earn base pay of $50,000 per year, plus, five percent of all cash flow above a minimum target…
All of that is good. When you’re spending public dollars, the more transparency, the better. There’s one little problem, though.
Much as H.L. Menken advised that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the masses, I think it is nearly impossible to overestimate the power of profit-sharing on an administrator’s desire to show profits. Right now, if the choice is between handing your school $5 million in profits or $1 million in losses–and the latter lets you hand out raises to everyone in your department (including yourself) without affecting your tenure in any way–it’s hard to avoid the temptation to spend every dollar in your budget. Such is the oft-wasteful reality of use-it-or-lose-it budgeting: costs rise to whatever level is allowed.
Well, unless you’ve got a reserve fund to tend to, I guess. But the overall thrust of what’s there is laudable. If nothing else, it’s a valid platform from which to discuss meaningful reform. When the Coalition to Save Collegiate Sports comes calling with its proposals, perhaps it’s a starting point worth raising in response.