Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

They can afford it.

You may have noticed that the Athletic Department is on something of a spending spree lately.

An athletic association budget of $117,419,039 was approved for fiscal year 2016 at Thursday’s spring meeting of the Board of Directors at the King and Prince Golf and Beach Resort.

That’s an increase of nearly $17.6 million from FY15…

The athletic association pledged an additional $1 million to the university, separate from the $4 million gift already planned, to help aid the university’s new, “experiential learning initiative,” according to University of Georgia President Jere Morehead.

A raise and extension was approved for basketball coach Mark Fox, now in line for $2 million annually for the next five years.

The contract keeps Fox, who is 106-89 with two NCAA Tournament appearances in six seasons at Georgia, signed through the 2019-20 season.

Athletic director Greg McGarity also received a raise, up to $575,000 beginning in July with yearly increases planned through summer of 2019.

And the timetable for the indoor athletic facility, a hot-button topic within the community and fan base for years, is taking shape.

Judging from this job posting, the growth in the support staff for football isn’t slowing down, either. (h/t sectionzalum)

It’s different from what we’ve been accustomed to, but it’s not as if the reserve fund is going to be drained this year.  That’s because, first, as the article notes, the big bucks from the fledgling SEC Network are starting to roll in.  Boy, are they.

The SEC revenue distribution grows each year. It was $309.6 million in 2014, but this is the first year that will account for the SEC Network. Georgia reported at its athletic board meeting that its payment from the SEC is expected to jump from $22.97 million in fiscal year 2015 to $34.51 million in fiscal year 2016.

Throw in a 25% increase in ticket prices being phased in over the next three seasons and a $10 bump in the price of admission to the Cocktail Party and it’s pretty clear that nobody in Butts-Mehre is worried about missing any meals in the next few years.  Not to say Greg McGarity ain’t grateful:

“Our fans have been loyal to us through seasons where we were 12-2 and when we were 6-7, and we’re extremely appreciative of that support.”

“You’re welcome,” said our wallets.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

The further adventures of Larry Scott, genius.

How’s that whole Pac-12 Network thing working out for you guys?

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

Herschel Walker and antitrust law

I remember what a kick in the nuts it was to hear the news that Herschel was leaving for the USFL, but for some reason, I didn’t remember this particular development afterwards:

In 1983, I testified before Congress, along with former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and several prominent college football coaches to oppose a bill called “The Collegiate Student-Athlete Protection Act of 1983,” which was designed to encourage college student-athletes to complete their undergraduate education before becoming professional. The hearing was prompted by the signing of Heisman trophy winner Herschel Walker to a multi-million dollar contract by the USFL’s New Jersey Generals prior to completion of Walker’s college eligibility at Georgia. The bill was introduced to preclude the professionals from raiding the colleges of their most talented football players before they graduated. At the time, there was enormous fear of the potential upheaval that student-athletes abandoning college for the riches of professional football before completing their college football eligibility would cause within the business of college sports: a poaching of talent would make collegiate teams far less marketable.

The hearing sought to answer under what conditions could Walker, or any other student athlete, lose his amateur status and become professional. Senator Arlen Specter probed then-NCAA president John Toner, Joe Paterno and Bo Schembechler on how a young athlete could make such a decision without counsel of an attorney/agent, particularly since attorney/agent counsel was prohibited under NCAA rules. They not only failed to answer the question directly, but he interplay between them also suggested that they had had many prior discussions regarding amateur and professional eligibility.

Senator Specter further pressed them on the existence of the perceived “gentlemen’s agreement” between the NFL and the NCAA not to sign contracts with undergraduates until after the expiration of the athlete’s college eligibility. Such an agreement, if it existed, would be a violation of antitrust law. Amidst laughter in this public hearing, they expressed their disappointment in the USFL’s signing, but would not admit to having a group agreement. USFL commissioner Chet Simmons explained that the league only approved the signing for fear of an antitrust lawsuit filed by Walker’s lawyer and that the USFL was there in support of the bill since it would allow for a league rule to prevent such legal action. Rozelle testified that for the past 50 years, NFL rules honored the amateur athletes’ four years of college eligibility and would continue to do so in spite of a potential legal challenge. On the other side, NFL Players Association executive director Ed Garvey criticized the NFL for its disregard of the Haywood v. NBA decision in a similar case.

The author of the quoted piece was at one time the executive director of the NBA Players’ Association, so he’s certainly got some perspective on the matter.  His suggestion on how to deal with the NCAA’s current struggle defending its amateurism protocols, which you can read in some detail, is for the colleges to enter into a partnership with their student-athletes – as he summarizes it, “a revenue-sharing business model and recognize a Trade Association representing the college athletes’ interests as partners”.  Yes, if you think that makes too much sense for the NCAA membership to embrace without a struggle, you’re not wrong.

If that’s Plan B, at best, it’s not hard to guess what Plan A is shaping up to look like.

As pressure from litigation and possible congressional intervention mounts, the idea of handing some control of college sports to the federal government in return for protection from antitrust law becomes more of a possibility.

“It’s not my preferred path,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said. “I think it is increasingly an inevitable path.”

Swarbrick was part of a panel of legal and college sports experts who tackled the prospect of an antitrust exemption for the NCAA early this week at a meeting of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics in Washington.

The NCAA has no official position on whether to pursue an antitrust exemption.

“It’s certainly the case that some people in the membership raise this as a question: Is this an avenue that needs to be pursued for college sports?” NCAA chief legal counsel Donald Remy said.

“Some people” – Donald’s not saying who, exactly, but he wants you to know they’re out there.  Like we didn’t already know that, dude.

The problem for Donald’s folks is that antitrust law isn’t about academics, which is the noble cover in which they’re going to try to cloak themselves.  It’s about economics, which is what we all know this move is really about.

“The problem with it is it implies equivalence between education and athletics. That equivalence should not exists,” Katz said.

Katz does not believe antitrust exemption is a realistic solution for college sports as is.

“The idea of going to congress and trying to get an antitrust exemption for what is a huge commercial enterprise I think is a fool’s errand,” he said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has characterized the NCAA as a cartel. Cartels don’t get antitrust exemptions. Educational institutions do.”

Not that their tune has changed much since Herschel left Athens.

The NCAA, its coaches, the NFL and the USFL were there seeking antitrust protection because a new league had broken with tradition and an unspoken honor code, but mainly it highlighted the difference in the intent of the senators and their desire for the student-athlete to get an education while the NFL, NCAA and USFL focused entirely on the question of eligibility. Thankfully the bill failed, but the power of the NCAA and its political lobby was clear, as was the collaboration, which looks more like collusion, between the NCAA and the professional leagues.

Cartels don’t change their spots.  Although sometimes they do look for legal protection.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Remember, it’s all about what’s on the front of the jersey.

Seriously, how any of you can argue that individual student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses don’t have intrinsic value when even the schools themselves know differently is beyond me.

Amateurism, my ass.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

$40.8 million

It’s nice to see Nike helping the University of Georgia further its academic mission.

Just remember, kids, it’s never what’s on the back of the jersey that counts.

Until the minute after you leave college, that is.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Thursday morning buffet

Go on, have some.

  • Mark Schlabach asks the musical question, “Say what? A guy who actually graduated from Notre Dame can’t attend an SEC school, but guys who were accused of crimes such as theft and domestic violence can?”  That’s why we love you, SEC.
  • If you believe in the old adage, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, it can’t be good that it’s getting increasingly smokier around Tim Beckman.
  • And you wouldn’t be the only one who feels that way, evidently, judging by this.
  • People who keep writing posts about declining bowl game attendance show their ignorance about bowl game economics.
  • Here’s a different SEC power rankings list for you.
  • Roll Bama Roll looks back at how the current SEC scheduling format came into being.
  • And UAB’s president expects to make a decision about whether to bring the football program out of the grave he sent it to by June 1.

22 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label, SEC Football, Whoa oh Alabama

“Money is just money. It isn’t everything.”

I have little doubt about what will be the burning topic at this year’s SEC summer meetings.

“It’s a game-changing issue.”

Essentially, cost-of-attendance is a way for major schools to provide stipends to athletes without calling it an outright payment for services. It’s a reaction to several court rulings against the NCAA, including the Ed O’Bannon case, which have challenged whether college athletics are really amateur. The athletes bring in so much money, they should get a cut, lawyers have argued, and courts have agreed.

But not every school has the resources to provide stipends. So last year, the NCAA gave autonomy to the so-called power five conferences (SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12) to make their own rules. The schools have moved to do so for this coming school year.

The devil, however, is in the details.

“I think when cost-of-attendance came out and it was gonna be $2,000 across the board, it seemed like a good plan, and it made sense,” Georgia football head coach Mark Richt said. “That was in everyone’s mind, ‘Let’s get this cost-of-attendance thing going,’ because everybody visualized it being that very thing. Then it became something different than that, and it became a concern for a lot of people to have the equity involved in that area.”

Georgia’s cost-of-attendance has been set at $3,221 per year. That’s broken down as $2,346 for “miscellaneous living expenses” and $875 for transportation costs. The miscellaneous expenses include estimated costs for items such as clothing, laundry, cleaning supplies and a “communications package.” The information is culled from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, according to Georgia compliance director Jim Booz.

Georgia’s transportation cost is an estimated average calculated by assuming four trips per semester from Warner Robins, since it is a mid-point for in-state students. For out-of-state students, it’s a round-trip plane ticket to Chicago, chosen for its central location.

But Auburn calculates its cost-of-attendance at $5,684, according to its school website. Georgia estimates it is in the middle among SEC schools.

Why the difference? And how does each school calculate it? Well, that’s unresolved and something the SEC will seek to resolve in Destin, Florida, at its summer meetings.

“There’s nothing that I’ve seen that says this is how everybody computes it,” Richt said. “Everybody computes it in their own way.”

Making Jay Jacobs spell out Auburn’s fuzzy math should be a real treat.  Any guesses on where the typical Auburn student hails from?

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