Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Alex, I’ll take commercials, for $200.

Yeah, that’s a real puzzler, alright.

I’m a little surprised he didn’t try blaming the ‘rona.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

It’s Jimmy Sexton’s world, and we’re just living in it.

USA Today is out with its annual survey of D-1 head coaching salaries and it’s a sign of the times that the outsized numbers for many don’t even surprise me any more.

But this still does:

Buyout clauses are still booming. This year, at least five coaches would be owed $30 million or more if they were fired without cause by Dec. 1, led by Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher ($53.1 million). And more than half of Power Five coaches (33) have buyouts of $10 million or more.

“Prudent P5 athletic director” is an oxymoron.

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

How the rich get richer

Shorter Knight Commission surveyI mean, say what you want about the tenets of P5 schools’ greed, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Corch, agent of chaos

You might wonder what a new agency that would advise athletic departments on adapting to the coming NIL marketplace would see in bringing Urban Meyer on as a “coaching consultant”.  Allow Corch to explain his value:

Meyer, who will be the coaching consultant, predicted extraordinary demand for Altius’ services. Coaches’ time and attention in 2020 has been totally consumed by the pandemic, social justice causes and uncertainty around the 2020 season itself, Meyer said, so few of them have given full consideration to what NIL rights might mean.

The kind of guidance and expertise that Altius promises could provide its clients with a leg up in recruiting the top athletes who might be in position to benefit from NIL the most, the coach said.

“Universities will adapt, everyone will adapt,” Meyer said. “But I know a coach is going to want help in this space. He’s going to want to know what other people are doing. The biggest thing is what the NCAA compliance is going to look like. … This is going to be very chaotic for quite a while.”

Translation:  he’s there to help coaches figure out how to push the envelope with boosters.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Larry Scott, a man for his time

How do you know when you’re watching an Olympic-class shitheel at work?  Paying out performance bonuses to high level employees approximately one month before half the staff was laid off or furloughed is a fairly ordinary shitheel move.

What elevates it to the truly spectacular is moving up the bonus payment schedule so that it came before the layoffs.

“I have no idea why they changed the schedule, but I was surprised,’’ one networks employee said. “I was just told, ‘Heads up, bonuses will be paid at the end of the week.’’’

A conference spokesperson said the payment timeline was accelerated to coincide with salary reductions for the highly-paid employees and because — with furloughs and layoffs possible if the football season was disrupted — the payments could be used to “support the retention of key employees.”

Yeah, I’m sure losing key employees during a pandemic shutdown was a real risk.

If Larry Scott has a bottom, I don’t think we’ve found it yet.

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

They’ll do it every time.

Lest we forget, the NCAA is still doing its damnedest to lock down NIL legislation in a way most favorable to itself and its member schools.  Part of the process involves a survey sent to Division I athletic departments last month by the NCAA Legislative Solutions Group, the faction charged with developing NIL legislation.  Ross Dellenger has the receipts.

No, there’s nothing particularly shocking in it if you’ve followed the process much.  But there are a few choice examples of hypocrisy worth sharing, starting with my favorite:

According to the survey, athletes will be prohibited from endorsing commercial products or services that conflict with NCAA legislation, citing examples as “sports wagering and banned substances.” This could receive stiff pushback. The college sports gambling industry is fast on the rise. In fact, the University of Colorado last week became the first school to strike a deal with a gambling outfit.

While they seem pretty consumed with preventing college athletes from cutting promotional deals that conflict with existing institutional sponsorship arrangements, they seem surprisingly sanguine about… boosters?

According to the survey, the NCAA still plans to allow boosters to strike NIL deals with athletes as long as they are not recruiting inducements, but the survey asks athletic directors if the term “booster” should be more narrowly defined because of its broadness.

Finally, here’s a funny concern from the same folks who insist college athletes are already handsomely compensated for their contributions to the money making machine.

Should an athlete’s NIL deal include a financial maximum or ceiling? It’s a topic that’s been bantered about this year. While the survey doesn’t specifically address that, it does ask administrators an interesting question about an athlete’s NIL financial details. “Should the membership establish a specified dollar amount of a transaction that would trigger enhanced scrutiny from involved institutions, the NCAA, or a third party administrator?” it says.

Makes me wonder which college athlete is shrewd enough to be the first one to hire Jimmy Sexton as his agent.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

$55 million… and counting

Looks like I’ve got a fan over at the Dawgs247 board.

I wonder if Blutarsky over at Get The Picture still has something smart to say about the reserve fund. Butts-Mehre looks a hell of a lot smarter than the Senator in this deal.

Normally, I don’t do requests, but since he’s being so gracious about it, let’s take a quick look at the underlying story.

Georgia is currently in that boat. J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity announced at the fall meeting of UGA’s Athletics Board on Friday that the Bulldogs will deal with a shortfall of $55 million. That’s not a reference to the loss of revenue, but a bottom-line projection that could get worse if Georgia experiences any disruptions to its 2020 football season.

“We expect the bottom line, our net number once you factor in revenue and expenses, will be a net loss of $55 million,” McGarity said after the board meeting. “There are adjustments on both ends to where we get to that net number.”

Okay, so first McGarity admits that’s just an expectation, not a final number.

Situations like this are why the UGA Athletic Association has always prided itself on maintain a significant dollar amount in its reserves. McGarity has referred to it as a “rainy day fund” in the past and it’s necessary to keep the UGAA’s credit rating as high as it can be. As of May 30, that number was $74.5 million and McGarity anticipates having to dip into that some for the 2020-2021 year. He just isn’t sure how much yet.

“We know we have certain buckets of money,” McGarity said. “We certainly don’t want to deplete our reserves as Ryan (Nesbit) had mentioned. We plan to use a portion, but we really don’t know what that number will be but certainly it’s a huge part of our operating expenses to be able to spend of the interest off of that. We certainly don’t want to deplete so it will be one of the tools in the tool chest that will use to help make ends meet.”

Two things there:  the reserve fund exists to prop up the UGAA’s credit rating and they haven’t actually committed to using any of it yet in the current fiscal year.  (Not to mention that if they do, they admit up front they don’t plan on using much.)

Sounds pretty crisis-y to me.  Or not.

One more thing about the dire financial straits Butts-Mehre finds itself presently in, via Chip Towers:

Josh Brooks, Georgia’s senior deputy AD, updated the board on the progress of the Butts-Mehre football complex expansion. He reported the $80 million project as being “on time and under budget.”

Yes, plowing $80 million into a capital project that doesn’t generate revenue is exactly how you’d expect a financially prudent organization to act in tough times.

Tell you what, folks, when the day comes that Georgia’s athletic department really has to dip deeply into the reserve fund to carry on, there will be receipts and I will be the first to congratulate Michael Adams for his foresight and Greg McGarity for his diligence in carrying the torch.  Until then, if you want to believe in the reserve fund fairy, bless your hearts.

38 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in strategic partnerships

Honestly, I don’t know how they expect Mark Emmert to keep a straight face at the next Congressional hearing.

The University of Colorado has signed a deal with PointsBet to serve as an official sports betting partner in a major step to dismantling college sports’ decades-long aversion to gambling.

The Boulder-based school has a new five-year deal with the betting operator, which is building its U.S. headquarters in nearby Denver. Legal sports betting went live in Colorado in May, and partnering with the state’s biggest athletic department is a way for PointsBet to separate itself from the sports books currently taking bets there.

It is among the first—and likely the most in-depth—partnerships between an athletic department and a sports betting operator. William Hill, for example, has been advertising with the University of Nevada Las-Vegas and University of Nevada Reno since 2017, the company said.

The PointsBet deal, which covers sports betting, fantasy sports, casino games and free-to-play contests, was negotiated by Colorado’s commercial partner Learfield IMG College. PointsBet will have signs placed at the school’s football stadium and basketball arena, plus a presence on radio broadcasts and other media. It also includes career development opportunities for Colorado students.

Yeah, I’d say that’s well on the way to dismantling a gambling aversion.  When should we expect to see an in-stadium sports book?

And this may be the most cynical quote of 2020 (there’s some pretty stiff competition, too):

“This isn’t a deal just to get PR, this is a long-term view for both parties, and both parties had to get very comfortable with one another,” Johnny Aitken, CEO of PointsBet’s U.S. business, said in an interview. “It is centered around education and those career pathways, and being in-state, the trust factor is heightened because we’re just miles away, not a plane flight away.”

“It is centered around education”?  Dude, I think you misspelled “money”.

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Filed under Bet On It, It's Just Bidness

“Bad timing, but what can you do?”

Here’s another brutal local economics story about the impact of COVID on a college town, in this case, Champaign, Illinois.

Two quick points from it… first,

(As the numbers illustrate, the Big Ten’s decision not to play fall football—while still under siege from coaches and fans and administrators and players and parents of players—is not triggering financial ruin. COVID-19 already did that, by demolishing schedules and reducing stadium capacity nationwide. No season at all is only slightly more ruinous financially than a partial season in a mostly empty stadium.)

And second…

This is a recent development. Students came back to campus and enjoyed a YOLO lifestyle for the first week, but COVID-19 testing numbers told on them—after more than 400 positives between Aug. 24 and Sept. 1, the university cracked down. “We believe taking swift action to identify and remove students who refuse to follow safety guidelines is the right decision,” Illinois chancellor Robert Jones said in a statement. “We have been encouraged that the vast majority of our students have been compliant, and we believe this effort will require noncompliant students to make the choice to either comply or leave campus.”

That was Sept. 2. On Sept. 3, Green Street was almost empty. The fencing came down at 8:06 at Kam’s, and the front door was closed by 9:15.

“We’ve just got to ride it out,” Reda says. “Bars are public enemy No. 1 right now with COVID.”

That is one reason why they can’t have nice things.

(Oh, and before some of you go on in the comments thread to talk about the non-existent threat to young, healthy college football players — not that you should, mind you — maybe somebody should have explained the stats to this kid.)

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UPDATE:  This is a helluvan “oops”.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Body Is A Temple

One born every minute

The grift, she is strong.

For years, Travis, who also hosts a gambling show on Fox Sports and runs a website called Outkick, has been building a brand partly rooted in attacking progressive athletes and accusing ESPN of liberal bias. But this summer, as the pandemic, protests over racial injustice and the approaching election collided with the return of sports, Travis’s nascent mini-media empire has morphed into the go-to platform for Republicans hoping to win over sports fans.

… The motivation is clear for politicos, said Republican strategist Jim Hobart, given Travis’s audience of red-state SEC fans.

“These sports issues can be a very effective base motivator,” he explained. “They can drive donor interest, especially small-donor interest, and the reason they are going on with Clay is that he reaches the same audience that they are trying to reach.”

For Travis, the calculation may be riskier. After spending years lambasting the politicization of sports and arguing about the business downsides of activism, his own politics may be impacting his long-term position in sports media.

He’s not hiding anything, because he doesn’t feel the need to hide anything, which says a lot about what he thinks of the people he’s pitching his shtick to.

“Stick to sports” is profitable in this day and age, if you know how to sell it.  And whom to sell it to.

22 Comments

Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, It's Just Bidness, Media Punditry/Foibles, Political Wankery