Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Who’s foolin’ who?

There’s something about playoff expansion that brings out the bullshit artist in every conference commissioner.  Here, for example, are the supposedly tortured stylings of Jim Delany’s successor as head of the Big Ten:

“We have to ask ourselves what’s in the best interest of the student-athletes for them to be able to get a world-class education and participate and to remain healthy — healthy mentally, and physically, and emotionally and spiritually,” Warren, the first African American Power 5 commissioner, said in an interview with ESPN.

“If we do that, and we get people in the room to say, ‘If they were my son, or that were my grandson, and I would be comfortable with whatever decision is made,’ then we’ll know when that is right. No matter what we do, we have to put the best interests of the student-athletes at the center. We have to remember they are not professional athletes and they should not be held to a standard to win a national championship by playing 20 games.”

Well, unless the money is good enough.

What happens when stakeholders and market forces demand more of the same product? Ask the NCAA postseason men’s basketball tournament, which started with eight teams in 1939 and now has 68.

In 1981, when the NCAA considered expanding the tournament from 48 to 64 teams, Stanford athletics director Andy Geiger explained why he supported expansion.

”We all need money and that new TV contract kind of helps,” Geiger said then in the New York Times. ”You can increase the field now, and teams will earn as much as or more than they earned this year.”

From 1982 to 1984, CBS paid $16 million a year to televise the tournament. That doubled to $32 million with the expansion to 64 teams in 1985, leading the NCAA to “study ways of distributing what some feared could become an embarrassment of riches,” according to The Associated Press in 1985. Thirty-one years later, the NCAA announced an $8.8 billion, eight-year contract extension from CBS and Turner Sports through 2032.

Funny how that works.  And football playoff expansion will likely be just as lucrative.

One professional estimate predicts an eight-team playoff could fetch an additional $420 million a year from ESPN or whoever pays for it.

According to this estimate from Navigate Research, adding another four playoff games would add an additional 60 million viewers, which would be worth an additional $420 million at the rate of $7 per viewer. The Navigate estimate is based on the fact that playoff games in the current four-team format average around 65 million television viewers, which is roughly $7 per viewer for ESPN for those three games.

To use that tired chestnut, we know what you are, Mr. Warren.  We’re just haggling over the fee.

7 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Blowing Smoke, It's Just Bidness

The new normal doesn’t seem that normal.

To paraphrase Robin Williams, this quote is Gawd’s way of telling you you have too much money:

Texas Tech’s football coaching staff turnover between the 2018 and 2019 seasons will wind up costing its athletics department nearly $6.6 million…

“It’s something that was budgeted for, so prepared for,” Tech senior associate athletics director Robert Giovannetti said. “It’s part of the business, right? You understand it’s a part of the business and you chalk that up to cost of doing business and don’t let it affect the way you run your operation.”

Um… dude, your football team finished 5-7 and 4-8 those two seasons.  Maybe you should let it affect the way you run your operation.

I’m pretty much convinced that a school could pick at random a GTP commenter as its next AD and wind up with a better run athletic department.  The sad thing is these guys are all convinced they’re doing a bang-up job.

23 Comments

Filed under General Idiocy, It's Just Bidness

“F—ed up business. People are insane.”

It seems quaint now to reflect on Georgia giving Mark Richt fifteen years.  (Hell, there were plenty of people who had misgivings about letting Richt go despite the dry spell after the 2012 season.)  What I’m wondering about is whether it’s going to soon seem quaint to give any head coach three years without immediate gratification.

Willie Taggart, Chad Morris and Joe Moorhead will forever be linked together for something they’d probably like to forget. They were all fired before coaching the first game of their third season at their respective school.

The timing is important here. Before this season, you’d have to go back more than a decade to find three Power 5 coaches who were dismissed, primarily for on-field performance, before their third year. This year, we got three in a single season, two of them within a week of one another in early November—when Florida State fired Taggart after 21 games and Arkansas fired Morris after 22 games. On Friday, in an unusual move, we got No. 3 when Mississippi State fired Moorhead, the rare coach fired after his bowl game.

The Moorhead firing is particularly unusual.

And so after just 26 games, Mississippi State fired a man with as many wins in two years as the Bulldogs had in a five-year stretch from 2002-06. It is the greatest and most recent example of the pressurized, win-now era of college football…

… Before Mullen’s arrival, State played in one bowl the previous eight seasons. Go deeper into State’s history and you’ll find a program that had 15 winning seasons in a 50-year stretch starting in 1959 and ending with the start of Mullen’s tenure. In 10 years under Mullen, they had eight such seasons. “The just beat Ole Miss narrative was assassinated this morning,” tweeted longtime Bulldogs insider Steve Robertson. “Mississippi State just fired a coach who beat the Rebels both times he played them and went to two bowl games. It’s a different day and time in Starkville.”

This is, to put it mildly, insane.  Whom exactly are they expecting to hire in Starkville that would dramatically change the school’s fortune in the SEC West?

The answer, of course, is nobody obvious.  Still, when you’ve got the bucks to make short attention span decisions, that’s what you’re gonna do.

Moorhead’s buyout is much lower, a source said, about $7 million, but that can be mitigated to as little as $4 million through off-set language in his contract, assuming the coach finds other employment. Meanwhile, a new coach’s contract could cost more than $20 million guaranteed. And then there’s the current and future staffs. Schools must buy out remaining assistant coaching contracts (many coordinators have two to three year deals), and a new staff might cost more than $5 million in guarantees.

Thank Gawd for the new TV revenue that will be coming in when Mickey picks up the CBS deal.  All that’s going to lead to is putting more money in the pockets of Jimmy Sexton and his clients.  But, hey, at least mediocre ADs will be doing something.

This is why Jim Delany is jonesing for an antitrust exemption.  Athletic departments need immunity from their own stupidity.

62 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

A modest proposal

After a few chuckles, that chart got me to thinking.  I mean, here’s Auburn not showing up at a bowl game for the second time in the last three years, giving some program an over-inflated sense of worth.  Not good, Bob, but, going forward, what can be done to prevent schools from half-assing another meaningless bowl game?

I’m glad you asked.

We all know that money rules in today’s college football world.  Make me god-king of the NCAA for a day, and I’ll make every athletic director, coach and player care about every bowl game the way somebody who took minus-22.5 in a bowl game featuring a mid-major sweats out a drive in garbage time that would cut the final margin to 20 cares.  Three easy steps to giving a damn:

  1. A school only gets its share of conference bowl money if it wins its bowl game.
  2. A coach only gets a bowl game bonus if his team wins the game.
  3. Players receive a share of conference bowl money, but only if they suit up for the bowl game.

I realize the third proposition is the most controversial, but, really, how many kids staying out to protect a shot at the NFL are going to turn down, say, a $20,000 check?  I’m guessing not many.

Hey, if you’ve got a better suggestion, I’m all ears.

26 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

What’s the harm in looking?

While we’re absorbed over Georgia’s roster numbers and motivation, let’s not overlook the fact that Baylor’s got its own distraction issue.

As news about NFL teams, like the Panthers, expressing interest in interviewing Matt Rhule started to get shared on major networks and social media for all to see on Sunday, Baylor players were getting ready for Sugar Bowl practice when Matt Rhule decided to have a team meeting.

The goal of that meeting for Rhule was full transparency – something not all coaches who are being pursued by other teams or organizations are willing to provide.

There, players shared with the Dallas Morning News that Rhule told them that he’d be “dumb” to not take an opportunity to talk with an NFL team.

Wonder if Rhule thinks it’s dumb for players not to explore transfer opportunities that might be beneficial for their careers.  But I digress.

Anyway, you have to wonder how hard kids will play for somebody who’s at least open to the possibility of bailing on them after a special season.

11 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness

“It’s the Green Tide and Roll Greed Roll. That’s my new motto.”

Sad.  Pathetic.  But entirely predictable.

A surgical $106 million renovation to the 90-year old structure is doing away with those approximately 2,200 modestly priced nine rows of seats on the U1 and U2 levels tucked between the west side’s upper and lower bowls. These were quality seats, covered from the elements and chair-backed unlike the majority bench seating in the 101,821-capacity stadium.

That space will now be occupied by the Champions Club, one of the several new premium options replacing more traditional seats in the U1 and U2 levels of the stadium’s west side. Starting next fall, those in Section P will have cushioned seats, access to an indoor, temperature-controlled club and an all-inclusive buffet.

That doesn’t come cheaply, and that’s where the issue for families like the Burnettes come into play. Each seat now requires a $10,000 one-time donation and an additional $3,500 contribution every season. That doesn’t include the price of the actual tickets, which were $495 apiece last year for the top tier seats.

Burnette in 2019 paid $940 a ticket including a $480 donation for each of his four seats minus the amenities.

That same seat next year is $13,995 in the Champions Club if the initial donation is paid up front or $5,995 if spread into five equal portions. It comes with a 10-year commitment meaning each seat will cost $49,950 and only if the $495 season ticket prices never rise.

And this quote is a perfect of example of someone trying to sound sympathetic without actually being sympathetic.

Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said the school intends “to be transparent and you also want to be empathetic” to those impacted by the changes.

“One of the things that we had to balance here is we don’t take any satisfaction in moving anybody out of their seats. Zero,” Byrne said in an interview with AL.com. “And we want to be very sensitive to all of our season ticket holders and all of the stadium. At the same time too, we have to balance that with what do we do to move the program forward? One of the worst things we could do as a program is while we’re having historical success to not look at where our long-term strategies are for our department.”

Those long-term strategies ain’t gonna pay for themselves, Mr. Burnette.

I assume this is something else from Tuscaloosa we can look forward to being imported to Athens soon.  You can’t stop progress, fellow wallets.

(h/t SSB Charley)

53 Comments

Filed under Alabama, It's Just Bidness

Living in the USA

This may be the most Mark Emmert comment ever:

3 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA