Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

That money ain’t gonna spend itself, boys.

Ah, what to do with the torrent of broadcast money flowing into college football in the age of amateurism?

I think we know the answer to that.

assistants-salaries

The linked article is a hoot… unless you’re a strength coach’s agent, in which case it’s manna from heaven in terms of planting the awareness in the heads of every P5 athletic director in the country that everybody gets to make bank these days.

Iowa’s Chris Doyle is the highest-paid strength coach in the country, with a base annual pay of $625,000. That is the same salary Iowa pays to its offensive and defensive coordinators. Alabama’s Scott Cochran had his base pay bumped from $420,000 in 2015 to $525,000 this fall after a high-profile dalliance with rival Georgia; much a like an assistant coach, Cochran saw his salary rise due to outside interest.

Doyle, Marotti and Cochran each are paid more than 17 public school head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Five strength coaches — Doyle, Marotti, Cochran, UCLA’s Sal Alosi and South Carolina’s Jeff Dillman — are making at least $400,000 annually. Six — the aforementioned quintet plus Oklahoma State’s Rob Glass — make more than two FBS head coaches: Louisiana Monroe’s Matt Viator and New Mexico State’s Doug Martin.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  It’s America and people should make whatever the market will bear.  But this is a perfect example of the kind of market distortions you get when you combine lots of money, an artificially inexpensive labor base and athletic directors who have to kowtow to what their boosters and coaches think is appropriate.

The fun will come in trying to predict where the next bubble comes.  My money’s on recruiting directors.

By the way, if you really want some indication of how vast the money flow is these days, check out USA Today’s chart on assistant pay and guess where Georgia ranks among all the schools in the country.  Given B-M’s reputation for frugality, combined with the absence of chest-thumping and/or fretting about handing out those kind of bucks — remember the days when Richt had to come out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his staff? — that’s pretty remarkable stuff.

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Filed under College Football, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

These football games are making me thirsty.

Ohio State raised more than $1 million in its first year of stadium beer sales.  (And look at some of these other numbers.)

I really don’t see how McGarity can ignore that kind of revenue stream forever.

(h/t)

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

(No) mo’ money

College football is broke.  The state of Louisiana is broke.  LSU is broke.

So it makes complete sense that Dave Aranda is now the highest paid assistant in college football.

Gee, it’s almost as if somebody’s lying to us.

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

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Oregon fired its head coach yesterday.  Given that Mark Helfrich was just two years removed from coaching in a national championship game, the move had a real SEC flavor to it.

But Oregon managed to elevate the situation with some first-class dickishness. Check out what the school sent out yesterday.

Nice.  I’d throw out some “stay classy, Oregon” advice, but that train appears to have already left the station.  If there were any justice, that would chill the bidding for Helfrich’s replacement, but let’s face it — the Ducks can throw enough money around to make anybody swallow their qualms about that.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Pac-12 Football

“There are too many people counting on us.”

Admittedly, my first response to Jon Solomon’s article about Charlie Strong’s firing and its effect on black coaches was a bit knee jerk, but he makes a solid point when he writes,

Advocates who are pushing for minorities to get more interviews for head-coaching jobs are closely watching what happens next with Strong.

They remember Will Muschamp at Florida Gators , Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and Ron Zook at Florida. They all failed miserably at one high-profile job only to get another head-coaching position fairly quickly (at South Carolina Gamecocks , Kansas and Illinois Fighting Illini , respectively). There’s also Ed Orgeron, who similarly failed miserably as a first-time head coach at Ole Miss Rebels and — after a decade as an assistant and interim coach — worked his way back to one of the most prestigious jobs in the country at LSU. They’re all white. (Willingham got another job after Notre Dame and went 11-37 at Washington Huskies in four years.)

What jobs open up this offseason and where Strong wants to coach will be factors determining whether he’s a head coach in 2017. Another factor: Presidents and athletic directors considering Strong had a 23-3 record in his final two years at Louisville Cardinals after cleaning up problems he inherited.

“The question isn’t about him falling [at Texas], it’s will he get an opportunity somewhere else?” said Ohio State Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith…

Indeed.

I’ve said for years, it’s not that athletic directors are racists — athletics aren’t a place you can succeed with that kind of attitude — as much as they’re lazy and more than willing to tap into the familiar as a way of avoiding being accused of taking unnecessary risks.  I may not be as sure as I could be about Strong’s head coaching ability, as others are.  He did very well at Louisville, but the best that can be said about his Texas stint was that he and the school were a bad match.  Even with that, I’m certainly sure he’s no worse a gamble than Boom, Weis or the Zooker were on their second shots.

By the way, and on an entirely different note, this passage ought to be interesting to GTP’s self-appointed expert on HR and hiring:

Universities are bound by federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to not discriminate when hiring. However, athletic departments often find a way around having a diversified pool, unlike other job openings at universities, Norvell said.

“ADs call the HR department when they have a hot candidate and they ask for a waiver,” Norvell said. “What the waiver does is get them around Title VII because they can qualify it as an emergency hire and then they don’t need a diversified pool…”

Must have seemed like an emergency after Jimmy Sexton opened the lines of communication with South Carolina, I suppose.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

Money doesn’t make you smarter.

I like a lot of what Dan Wolken writes, but this piece of his I read yesterday while at the game strikes me as coming off trying too hard to make something out of not much.

Maybe coaching searches just aren’t what they used to be.

In the last 12 months, there have been three mega-openings in college football with another on Saturday when Texas parted ways with Charlie Strong. And here is a snapshot of how those transitions played out:

►Southern California, with all of its cachet and unlimited resources, hired two-time interim Clay Helton with no full-time head coaching experience.

►Georgia fired Mark Richt after 145 wins in 15 seasons and immediately went to alum Kirby Smart without conducting a real coaching search.

►LSU, with two months to get its ducks in a row, settled on interim Ed Orgeron, who was a spectacular failure at Ole Miss less than a decade ago.

►And Texas, which three years ago had its sights set on Nick Saban, is likely to hire a coach in Tom Herman who lost this season to Navy, SMU and Memphis.

It’s apparent now that a market correction has arrived in college football. The explosion in salaries for head coaches and top assistants has had a two-pronged effect on the coaching search industry.

First, whereas it may have cost a school $3 million or $4 million to get rid of its coaching staff five years ago, it’s now often a $10 million-or-more proposition, which is enough to make boosters and administrators balk.

Second, with the gold-plated contracts coaches are now enjoying, it is simply quite difficult for any school to put together a package attractive enough to get an established, successful coach to move. In the last five hiring cycles, only eight Power Five schools have been able to poach from another Power Five program, with the most notable examples being Arkansas’ hire of Bret Bielema from Wisconsin and Nebraska luring Mike Riley from Oregon State.

Okay, he does qualify that with a “maybe” at the beginning, but look at those examples he lists.  The first three are idiosyncratic:  Helton was hired by Pat Haden, whose run of bad choices to succeed Pete Carroll was remarkable; the Smart and Orgeron hires were driven more by booster preferences than dollars (remember that LSU’s first tack was to throw money at Jimbo Fisher in an attempt to lure him back from FSU).

Further, it appears from the general scuttlebutt that Alleva’s search turned to keeping Orgeron after becoming peeved that Tom Herman wanted to play LSU off against Texas.  Similarly, McGarity swung hard for Smart after the latter began a flirtation with South Carolina over its coaching vacancy.  That, too, is more about ego than money.

As far as Herman goes, Texas opened the checkbook much as it did for Charlie Strong, who, it should be noted, is leaving Austin with a whopping buy out.  So there’s still plenty of money out there, at least with college football’s wealthier institutions.

Where I do think Wolken’s on more solid ground is with his last point.  In an era when big school college athletic departments are awash in money, it’s not hard to come up with enormous compensation packages for top coaches.  Urban Meyer and Nick Saban aren’t going to leave for greener pastures because there aren’t greener pastures than the ones they already graze in.

That being said, there aren’t that many Meyers and Sabans out there to chase in the first place.  What’s going to happen isn’t that somebody’s going to offer Nick Saban $10 million a year to leave Tuscaloosa.  Somebody’s going to offer a mid-major hot name like Tom Herman half that to leave Houston and then bump him up if he turns out to be a success so he won’t be poached down the road.  If it doesn’t work out, it’s not like Texas can’t afford the buyout.

Similarly, Kirby Smart in his first year is being paid almost what Mark Richt was making after fifteen years on the job.  There’s plenty of money out there and athletic directors are still dealing with the likes of Jimmy Sexton.  That’s some market correction, if you ask me.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

“… I’m here to play, I’m not here to go to school.”

So, Ben Simmons says the obvious…

“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said on “One and Done,” a film that will air on Showtime on Friday night. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

… and Mark Emmert interprets that as an attack on the NBA.  No, really.

“I was reading today where someone who played basketball at LSU was very unhappy with the one-and-done rule,” said Emmert, speaking Wednesday at LSU’s inaugural Sports Communication Summit at the Manship School of Mass Communication. “That’s not our rule. That’s the NBA’s rule. But (he says) it’s another stupid NCAA rule.”

Emmert said he agrees with Simmons, who was quoted in a documentary about him airing Friday on Showtime saying he felt he wasted his time in college because he didn’t have any time to work toward a degree, to a point.

“The one-and-done rule is something I’ve made no secret about how much I dislike it,” Emmert said. “It makes a farce of going to school. But if you just want to play in the NBA, you can do that. You can go to Europe or play at a prep school until you’re 19.

“I’d love nothing more than for the NBA to get rid of that rule. We’ve made it really clear to the (NBA) players union and the leadership of the NBA that we very much would like it changed.”

I’m sure you would, boss.  But the NBA isn’t in the business of managing your labor standards for you.

“If someone wants to be a pro basketball player and doesn’t want to go to college, don’t go to college,” he said. “We don’t put a gun to your head. First and foremost, it’s about being a student at a university. We’re in the human development business.

“If I wanted to hire someone to play football, why would I hire a 17-year-old (out of high school)?” Emmert asked. “Why wouldn’t I hire someone who just finished playing in the NFL or the CFL? If you want to hire a team, hire a team.

“Those kids have to be students. Philosophically, they have to be representatives of the university, so what we can and should be doing, which what we are doing today, is provide them with everything they possibly need to make them successful students and athletes.”

Well, plus put them in position to make lots of money for schools and Emmert’s organization.

You don’t care?  Then why was Simmons offered a scholarship at LSU in the first place?

Every time Mark Emmert speaks, an angel throws up.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA