Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

He works hard for the money.

Jim Delany doesn’t give a damn about your optics, media assholes.

Delany was asked at Big Ten Media Days what the optics are of one of the most powerful men in college sports being against compensation for players while cashing an eight-figure bonus.

“The optics are what the writers make of them,” Delany said. “For me, we have an obligation — legal — to share a 990 [tax return], which we have [with USA Today] …

“For me, I’m active, interested. [College athletics] has been important to me for more than 50 years. I continue to believe in it. I think the apt comparison is probably not with the student. I don’t think it ever has been. I understand people will make that connection. I just don’t make it.”

Note that he doesn’t even bother to refer to players as student-athletes.  They’re mere students.  Students aren’t worthy of a big check, not like the active, interested Delany is.

This is why his Division III threat if the NCAA lost O’Bannon was so much hot air.  He and his peers are going to milk the system for every drop they can get as long as they can. (“On Monday, he formally announced the beginning of a six-year media rights deal with Fox and ESPN worth $2.64 billion.”) They’re not going to lose any sleep over it, either.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Only the NCAA can exploit its student-athletes.

This is a 23-year old article in a law journal (h/t) I hadn’t come across before this weekend, but regardless of which side of the student-athlete compensation debate your sympathies fall, it’s worth your attention, because, without descending into loaded language (like “plantations” or “slavery”), it articulates how schools exploit their student-athletes.

No doubt the article shows its age in certain places, but it’s hard — at least it seems that way to me — to deny the power of some of what is argued there.  If you believe the current amateurism-based model fairly compensates student-athletes, there are several arguments made by the authors (for instance, “Non-athlete students are not placed under the same confining restrictions as their athlete counterparts.”) meriting rebuttals that I’ve rarely, if ever, heard.

If nothing else, I don’t see how preventing these kids from marketing themselves to third parties is justified.  Let me know what you think.

15 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Loss of institutional control

This is too fucking rich.

Nick Saban cannot contain himself. Such is the case when an issue impacts his ability to coach football at the highest level.

It’s been seven months since Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey skipped their bowl games, but their actions have created one of the hottest topics of the offseason.

What if, Saban wonders, ducking out for the pros before a bowl game becomes a college trend? Or worse …

“Same thing will happen in high school if they make the signing day before the season,” Saban told CBS Sports. “It will take a few years, then some kid will say, ‘Hey, I’m going to Notre Dame. I’m not playing my senior year.’

“Then the high school coach will go nuts.”

That Nick Saban.  So selfless.  Never thinking of himself.

The apple, it seems, doesn’t fall that far from the tree, either.

“It’s a major negative to me because it takes away from the team aspect of the sport,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “… Are we going to get to a point where someone commits to a college and says, ‘I don’t want to play my [high school] senior year for fear of injury?'”

Coaches like Saban and Smart can jump ship any time they’d like, without repercussion (other than a pesky buyout clause, maybe).  Indeed, Saban is on his fifth head coaching gig and nobody’s playing the “taking away from the team aspect of the sport” card on his ass.  But a player daring to take his career considerations into his own hands?  That’s death.

Even Smart detects a whiff of hypocrisy there.

“I definitely sympathize and see both sides of it,” Smart said. “I don’t want to sound like the selfish coach that only thinks of himself. Also, think of the purity of the game. You’re playing for more than the coach. You’re playing for a team, a university.”

Okay, only a faint whiff.

There aren’t many times when a player has control over his career.  A stud finishing his third college season with a likely NFL check staring him in the face has just that.  And it’s killing coaches like Saban and Smart.

There’s not a damned thing they can do about it, either, other than trying to convince the NFL to penalize kids for making a decision to skip a bowl game.  Good luck with that.  Of course, they could always advocate for student-athletes to be paid enough where it becomes worth their while to stay in school… eh, who am I kidding with that?

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Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, The NFL Is Your Friend.

From Dan Magill to Greg McGarity: the evolution of fan relations

Honestly, it’s not like I take any pleasure out of harping on Georgia’s athletic director’s mission in life.  It’s just that it seems as if every time he opens his mouth, I can’t help but dive for my keyboard.

Hence, this post.

This is now a fundraising event, pure and simple. And it’s not something about which Georgia is wishy-washy or apologetic.

“I understand the argument (that regular fans are being left out), but we also understand to make things work at the university we have to generate philanthropic gifts,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said beforehand outside on of the Intercontinental’s ballrooms. “We’ve got a huge drive going on for the West End project (at Sanford Stadium) and Kirby will talk about that tonight. That’s definitely part of what we’re trying to accomplish. We need them to help and we need their friends to help.”

McGarity understands the argument, “regular fans”, but that doesn’t mean he has to give a shit about anything other than the money chase.  He’s not shy about that, either.

Indeed, this change has been steady in coming. The “Bulldog Club meetings” that were once the popular brainchild of the late Dan Magill had morphed in recent years into what they called “UGA Days,” which were more fund-raising based in nature and always prominently featured the school president. But those gatherings remained opened to media and anyone who cared to attend. And they were usually worth the visit. They always closed with a colorful Q&A between the football coach and the fans, and that’s where you’d usually hear the best stuff.

That was followed by a long receiving line in which the coaches signed autographs and posed for pictures, sometimes for more than an hour.

“We got a lot of goodwill out of that, but we needed to think about a better use of their time,” McGarity said Wednesday. “We’ve tried something new every year. We’re trying to utilize our resources in the most efficient manner.”

“A better use of their time”.  Too bad, Joe and Jane Bulldog.  You and your goodwill no longer show up on the athletic department’s radar.  Just don’t forget to pony up next year’s Hartman Fund contribution, will ‘ya? McGarity’s still counting on you for that much.  I only wish he’d keep his mouth shut while he cashes our checks.  It’s the least he can do.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

It’s money that they love.

I see we were graced with another edition of “McGarity’s Minutes” (is that supposed to be catchier than the late, lamented “The First Word”?) yesterday.  In case you were wondering where the good athletic director’s sense of priorities are these days (I keed, I keed), he’s not coy about telling right out of the gate: “First of all, we would like to thank each and every one of you who contributed to the record-breaking fund raising year we had in Fiscal Year 2017.”

Hey, it beats talking about your assistant tennis coach’s recent drug arrest.

While we’re on the money front, Kirby Smart wants you to know he’s merely a good soldier following orders.

He was in Atlanta speaking at the swank Intercontinental Buckehad Hotel at an invitation-only event before Georgia donors. Athletic director Greg McGarity also was on hand.

It was one of five similar events this offseason—the other four were out of state. All were closed to the media.

It’s a change of pace from a couple of years ago and beyond when Mark Richt spoke throughout the state on the spring speaking tour at places like Augusta, Columbus and Savannah that was open to anyone that wanted to pay a small charge that often included dinner.

“It was not a philosophical change for me,” Smart said. “It was a philosophical change for fundraising and ways to generate revenue. That didn’t necessarily come from me. That came from people that are paid to do that. For me, whatever the event is, I’m fine with it. I want what gives us the best opportunity to raise money. I also want to be around our fan base, which is why we’re having a Fan Day (Aug. 5) and we’re opening that to the general public to come out and watch practice and see our players afterward.”

“That came from people that are paid to do that.”  You get the feeling that the minute Smart’s got contract leverage over the school — let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later — he’s going to have Jimmy Sexton deliver a “my client doesn’t have time for that shit” message to McGarity about his fund raising methods.  I doubt that will be a topic for a future “McGarity’s Minutes”.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

If you don’t ask for a lot, you don’t need to pay a lot.

According to this database, Greg McGarity’s total compensation package ranks thirteenth among all athletic directors in the SEC.  In years when Jay Jacobs earns his contracted bonus, McGarity drops to dead last.

When it comes to the reserve fund, at least the man puts his money where his mouth is.

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

About those support staff numbers…

Seth Emerson did some more digging into The Advocate’s story about how Georgia leads the conference in spending on support staff and finds that all may not be as it seems.

The figures The Advocate cites come from 2015-16 NCAA financial reports that give a box with a single support staff figure that isn’t broken down further. That’s where The Advocate got the $4.4 million. 

According to a source who spoke with Emerson, it seems the NCAA double-dipped on their figures because of the coaching change that happened in Athens in the middle of the 2015-16 academic year.

“That year, Mark Richt was fired, and the resulting turnover saw much of his support staff leave. That included the strength and conditioning coordinator and his four staffers, and quality control coaches that Jeremy Pruitt had helped bring in,” Emerson said. “So Kirby Smart then came aboard and hired his own strength and conditioning staff, along with other quality control staffers. And the NCAA figures, it appear, counts both Richt and Smart’s support staffs.”

According to Emerson, when you count the six-month salaries of each coach’s staff, Georgia would likely clock in at around half of the $4.4 million figure originally cited, although it’s difficult to tell for sure. That would put UGA roughly in line with Florida and Ole Miss, with the increase in support staff that’s occurred during the 2016-17 academic year possibly putting it in the top 5 of the SEC.

I suppose you can look at this in two ways.  Assuming that Georgia had to pay off the existing contracts on all the support staffers and coaches who were let go in the transition, the total expenditure reported to the NCAA is technically accurate.  But as a reflection of the current commitment to paying support staff, it’s overstated.

The good news is that anyone worried about what the original story might have meant for the reserve fund can rest easier now.

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UPDATE:  Marc Weiszer has more details.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness