Category Archives: It’s All Just Made Up And Flagellant

Sankey’s gonna Sankey.

Oh, puh-leeze.

The SEC reacted to Thursday’s news by releasing a statement in which commissioner Greg Sankey both re-affirmed the conference’s position and the fact that its schools would now be free to join in the satellite camps.

“While we are disappointed with the NCAA governance process result, we respect the Board of Directors’ decision and are confident SEC football programs will continue to be highly effective in their recruiting efforts,” Sankey said. “We continue to believe football recruiting is primarily an activity best-focused in high schools during the established recruiting calendar, which has provided opportunities for football prospective student-athletes from all across the country to obtain broad national access and exposure but with appropriate guidance from high school coaches, teachers and advisors that focuses on both their academic and athletic opportunities as they decide where they will play college football.

“SEC coaches will be allowed to engage in summer camps as a result of Conference legislation approved during the 2015 SEC Spring Meetings.”

If you really believe your approach to satellite camps is best for all concerned, then why lift the ban?

That was a rhetorical question, in case you’re wondering.

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Recruiting, SEC Football

The best “do it for the children” defense you’ll ever see.

If I’m gonna fling poo in Jim Harbaugh’s direction for being hypocritical about shutting down satellite camps, it only seems fair to do the same with regard to Hugh Freeze’s sanctimonious garbage.

I probably should’ve said that a little differently, but I’ll never apologize for wanting to be a father and a husband,” Freeze said when asked about vacation time. “I miss enough volleyball games (and other things), that is a priority for me. … I think we work very hard, I don’t think working hard is an issue. If you’re asking me if I want to add more nights away from my wife and kids, I do not. That window is closing for me to be a husband and a father and I think the kids that play in our system need to see me in that role an awful lot.

That, my friends, is Olympic-class work there.  Hugh Freeze is staying home, by Gawd, because his players need it.

Whenever the day comes that Mark Emmert is put out to pasture, the NCAA ought to beg Freeze to step in.  State of the art bullshit like that is hard to come by.

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The SEC and the young people

Hugh Freeze runs smack dab into the law of unintended consequences:

When Hugh Freeze coached at tiny Lambuth University, he sent coaches to work camps at bigger schools. He did the same when he coached at Arkansas State. In the camps Freeze has run since becoming the head coach at Ole Miss, he has stood before hundreds of campers and reminded them that while only a few of them will be recruited by the Rebels, all should work hard because coaches from Arkansas State, South Alabama and elsewhere would also be working with campers. Those schools, Freeze would remind the campers, also offer scholarships.

Monday morning, Freeze’s phone rang. On the other end was a coach wondering if he was no longer allowed to work the Ole Miss camp. The coach worked at an FBS school, and Freeze realized that coach would be banned by a rule passed Friday. The SEC—Ole Miss’s league—and ACC had spearheaded an effort to ban satellite camps. Since such camps were created by coaches from one college working a camp at a host high school or college in a recruit-rich area, the rule banned any FBS coach from working a camp that wasn’t on his own campus. The NCAA Division I management council voted, and the ban is effective immediately. Freeze realized quickly that the ban had a serious consequence he hadn’t considered. In keeping Michigan coaches from working camps at high schools in Alabama, Florida and Georgia and Oklahoma State coaches from working camps at a Division III school in Texas, the schools also had banned Bowling Green coaches from working Ohio State’s camp and Arkansas State coaches from working the Ole Miss camp…

It says something about the ham-fisted construction of this rule that one of the coaches from one of the leagues that championed it is already expressing regrets. Freeze wants to find a way to change the rule so coaches from Group of Five schools can still work camps in conjunction with Power Five schools. “I would love to continue that,” Freeze said Monday. “I just don’t want satellite camps for the Power Five. I am for non-Power Five schools being able to attend and evaluate.” Freeze agrees with the intention of the rule—just not the unintended consequences. He does not think his coaches should be able to work a camp in Houston, smack in the middle of Texas A&M’s recruiting territory. He does, however, think South Alabama coaches should be allowed to work the Ole Miss camp.

C’mon, Hugh, don’t those coaches have families, too?

This stuff makes me want to laugh… until I listen to what Greg Sankey lets come out of his mouth.

Sankey said this topic has been a concern long before Jim Harbaugh brought his Michigan camps to places like Prattville, Ala. What he called “recruiting tour events” first pinged the SEC radar back in 2011.

Sankey also downplayed the idea this legislation limited the opportunity of athletes to discovered by college coaches. He pointed to the ever-increasing staff positions within programs related to identifying and recruiting prospects.

Sure thing, Greg.  Lambuth University is positively crawling with support staffers, just like Alabama.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who planned satellite camps for this year, came out in opposition to the new rule. He told Cleveland.com that “probably hundreds of scholarships” were tied to these events. It’s not about the big schools, he said, but smaller programs like MAC schools who benefitted.

Sankey doesn’t agree. These satellite campers were a trend, he said, that would only fall further down the rabbit hole with larger concerns arising in the future.

“In fact, if you look at what may have happened, it would have not remained constant had the council not acted,” Sankey said. “We would have had dozens and dozens of events, particularly in large metropolitan areas and there would have been pressure on young people to attend those events.”

Oh, no.  Not that.  If anyone is going to pressure those young people, it’ll be SEC coaches, or nobody at all.

And the commissioner was just getting warmed up on his favorite topic of helping the young people.

Rather than the notion that things have been taken away, rather than continue to migrate football recruiting away from the scholastic environment” and recruiting calendar, “I think the council action is entire appropriate and consistent” with the council. If there is talk about extending recruiting calculator, that should come up, but “let’s not go” way of other sports and get away from scholastic setting…

You mean like mid-week night road basketball games?  Or bowl practices during exam period?

Oh, wait… you mean like this.

Sankey is asked about programs limiting players from transferring to certain programs. “I am concerned about the current transfer structure.” Believes there’s a lot of national concern about it.

Concerns about transfer structure: “We have to have an intentional conversation about the variances that exist in sport.” “We need to talk about the academic impact of transferring.” Also: “The ability to have too much or the appropriate or sufficient level of oversight is the one that seems to be the lightning rod.”

I have to give Sankey credit for one thing.  He’s much more fluent in bullshit than Mike Slive ever was.

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, SEC Football

Beyond coachspeak

There comes a point when words simply fail me.

Yep, I’m there.

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The ultimate way to reduce football injuries

Normally I take a pass on April Fools Day humor, but this is too inspired to ignore.

Could be a real game changer in recruiting, too.

(h/t)

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Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Science Marches Onward

The future’s so bright, we gotta wear shades.

June 20, 2017 – 8:30 AM EDT

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — In a stunning turn of events, the University of Georgia ended Stanford University’s 22-year stranglehold on the NACDA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup by storming into a first-place finish, fueled by national championships in eight different sports over the past year.

Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity credits the origin of the unprecedented surge to a change in the state’s Open Records law passed at the end of the 2016 legislative session.

“When it came to hiring and firing coaches, plenty of folks thought I couldn’t find my way out of a paper bag with one end open,” McGarity said with a chuckle.  “The reality was that having to acknowledge an open records request in three days was crippling our ability to compete.  Now that the shackles have been removed, there’s really no ceiling on what Georgia athletics can accomplish.”

The facts appear to bear McGarity out on that.  Georgia’s baseball team, which had been mired in mediocrity for several years, never lost another game in 2016 after Governor Nathan Deal, wearing a Georgia cap and woofing, signed the bill into law.  Several other sports at the school took off in similar fashion, being capped by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams crashing their respective Final Fours and winning 2017 national titles.

Ironically, given that he was the only person at the school willing to acknowledge any contact with Georgia lawmakers about the bill, head football coach Kirby Smart was one of the rare coaches who did not bring a national championship trophy back to Athens, as Georgia was upset by Houston in the semi-finals of the college football playoff.

However, Georgia fans aren’t holding that against Smart, as the Dawgs have signed what is widely acknowledged to be the nation’s best recruiting class this season, capped by inking all but one of the top ten high school players in the country.  (That one player, Eureka, California’s Tony Brown, had a mother who wasn’t impressed with Georgia’s sales pitch:  “Kirby kept talking about this Open Records law thing like it was some big deal.  I kept telling him I didn’t see how that would help me get to see my boy play football every weekend.”)

Naturally, Georgia’s success hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Asked about the rash of changes to other Southern states’ Open Records laws passed in response – most notably Alabama’s, where the standard of within a reasonable amount of time has been replaced by “whenever Coach Saban feels like it” – McGarity acknowledged a concern.  “For us, it’s about a level playing field.  It’s something we’ll ask Commissioner Sankey to address at next year’s spring meeting.  If that doesn’t work, then we may have to look at other options.”

Are there any other future legislative changes in store to help keep the Bulldogs on top?  “I could tell you about those, but then I’d have to have Jimmy Williamson arrest you,” he answered.  “No, seriously,” he continued when he saw this reporter smile.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Political Wankery

The Open Records law and Kirby Smart’s sudden bout of modesty

Here’s a story.

Kirby Smart acknowledged Tuesday that he was indeed asked about Georgia’s Open Records laws when he visited the state capitol recently. But Georgia’s new head football coach said he “doesn’t deserve credit” for a controversial measure that slows the public’s access to athletics information.

The bill, brought up and agreed to late on the night of March 22, would allow athletics programs in the state of Georgia to wait 90 days to respond to inquiries under the Open Records Law. That has been decried by First Amendment advocates.

The chief of staff to one of the bill’s co-sponsors, State Sen. Bill Cowsert, told the Macon Telegraph that it “came to light through Kirby Smart at UGA.”

Smart was asked about that after Tuesday’s practice.

“First of all, I shouldn’t get any credit for that,” Smart said. “When I went over to the capitol I was asked what’s the difference in our program and some programs I’ve been at in the past. One of the things I brought up, there’s a difference. And that was the extent of my conversation with those guys about that.

“So for me to get the credit for that is a little bit misleading.”

“Credit”?  I’d say that word doesn’t mean what Kirby Smart thinks it means, except I think he does know.  Exactly.  Which is why he declined to elaborate further when asked.

Smart declined a follow-up question on whether he felt changing the response time from three days to 90 was something the football program needs.

“I’ll be honest with you. I want to talk about our football program, and football practice,” Smart said. “That has nothing to do with as far as our practice today. I would rather answer questions regarding that. Appreciate it.”

Kirby is far from alone in wishing to avoid taking credit.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity, who has declined comment on the legislation, attended Smart’s press conference on Tuesday but left as soon as it ended. It’s rare for McGarity to attend such post-practice press conferences.

UGA president Jere Morehead “did not have a role in the legislation,” according to a spokesman in the University System Office in Atlanta.

I’m having trouble adjusting to McGarity as the strong, silent type.  Maybe Mark Bradley can get him to open up.

Anyway, here’s another story.

A House amendment to Senate Bill 323 was agreed upon and passed with the underlying bill last week, a little past midnight on March 23, which will allow for state athletics departments to delay open records requests for 90 days as opposed to three, which is what the law currently states.

Smart was asked what he told legislators on his involvement on getting this amendment through the General Assembly. Smart deferred credit but did say he spoke to lawmakers as to what could be done to help improve the Georgia football program…

With his response, Smart admitted he had a private conversation on the subject with the Georgia legislature. Prior to Smart being questioned about his role with the potential new law, which has been sent to Gov. Nathan Deal’s desk for a signature, Tom Krause, the Chief of Staff of state Sen. Bill Cowsert, R-Athens, said Smart was the key influence to members of the General Assembly deciding to act.

“It’s a similar subject that, from what I understand, came to light through Kirby Smart at UGA,” Krause said. “It had to do with football teams or athletic departments that are recruiting people in state of Georgia. They had a (shorter) window where the documents were not yet public, but other states had 90 days.”

So, ultimately, here’s what you’re being asked to swallow here:

  1. In the midst of recruiting, organizing the program and his very first spring practice preparation, Kirby Smart somehow found the time to show up for a friendly chat with the folks in the Georgia General Assembly.
  2. In the midst of a typically contentious session, members of the Georgia General Assembly found the time to ask what could be done to help the Georgia football program.
  3. Kirby Smart casually mentioned that Nick Saban has an easier time of responding to open records requests but didn’t make a big deal of it, even though he’s described as “the key influence to members of the General Assembly deciding to act”.
  4. Just as casually, Georgia legislators tacked an amendment on to an existing bill that gives Butts-Mehre unprecedented scope in responding to open records requests in the future.
  5. Even though the bill’s scope clearly exceeds the stated nonsensical goal of protecting recruiting secrets, neither Georgia’s athletic director nor its president had anything to do with it.

I’ll buy number two on that list, but the rest requires a leap of faith I’m not capable of taking.  Before Kirby Smart ever showed up to glad hand, or whatever you want to call it, somebody laid the groundwork and found a representative or two willing to carry the athletic department’s water.  Somebody told Kirby Smart what he could expect on his visit.  And whoever that somebody is was shrewd enough to hide the proposal behind Kirby Smart’s honeymoon and the annoying fanboy concern about Georgia’s recruiting against Smart’s old boss.

That’s some effective lobbying there.  So why not step up and take credit for it, especially since Kirby sounds like he’s more than willing to share?  You don’t have to be so modest, mystery man.  If it’s all about recruiting, what citizen of this great state could possibly object, right?

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Political Wankery