Category Archives: It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

The satellite camp mess, getting messier

There is so much packed into this article (h/t) that I hardly know where to start.  When in doubt, bring in the bullet points.

  • “The NCAA is considering banning satellite football camps and replacing them next spring with camps it would sponsor at NFL training centers and high schools.”
  • “If the NCAA doesn’t ban the current camps, documents indicate it is likely to set a 10-day window for coaches to attend camps. The current window is 30 days.”
  • “The NCAA would mandate counseling on recruiting and academics at its satellite camps, and is considering compensating low-income athletes for the cost of traveling to the camps.”
  • “The NCAA Council banned satellite camps earlier this spring. But just weeks later, the ban was overturned by the NCAA Board, composed largely of college presidents. The short-lived ban drew the attention of the Justice Department, which was preparing to investigate because it was concerned the ban might discriminate against players from low-income families who could not afford to travel to camps on campus sites far from their homes.
  • “Sources said the Justice Department has been involved in discussions with the NCAA.”

That all comes from a bunch of potential football rules changes discussed at the recent Conference USA spring meetings. (Copies of the proposals were obtained from ODU by The Virginian-Pilot under the Freedom of Information Act.)

The NFL on one side and Uncle Sam on the other.  Nice can of worms you opened there, Jim Harbaugh.

And that’s just on the satellite camp front.  Check out some of the other topics up for discussion:

High school football players who are rising seniors might be able to sign binding letters of intent after July 31. This would eliminate the early February signing day. If this rule takes effect, there is a proposed provision allowing players who have signed with a school to be released without penalty if the head coach leaves.

… The practice of enrolling high school players in January, before their scheduled high school graduations, might be banned or limited. Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has questioned the practice of enrolling players early.

Schools might be held responsible for all players they sign, not just those who qualify academically. College football programs don’t lose a scholarship or get penalized under NCAA academic ratings when a high school player they’ve signed fails to qualify academically. Forcing schools to count all signees against their scholarship limit of 85 would discourage them from signing players they know are unlikely to qualify. That would give those athletes an earlier chance to sign with a Division II school.

They ought to call that last one the Houston Nutt rule.  Taken together, those would radically restructure the recruiting process.  Which is why I can’t imagine most P5 coaches would be in favor of them.

If other mid-major conferences get behind this, it could get interesting.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Recruiting, The NCAA, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Conference USA, putting the not into have not

Holy declining television revenues, Batman!

The value of Conference USA’s television contracts has eroded even more than earlier reports indicated.

The league will receive about $2.8 million in TV revenue in 2016-2017 from four broadcast networks, according to documents The Virginian-Pilot obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

That’s about $200,000 for each school, according to notes Old Dominion officials received during C-USA’s spring meetings last month.

It represents a steep decline from the $15.4 million, or about $1.1 million per school, to be distributed this year.

To put that in some sort of perspective, $1.1 million wouldn’t even cover Georgia’s football recruiting budget… in 2o15.  $200k is what Georgia drops on support staff when Kirby wakes up in the morning and decides he needs a few more bodies to watch tape and send texts to recruits.

The bigger picture is hardly less disheartening for C-USA.

The league’s TV revenue has now fallen to among the lowest in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which continues to see a canyon-like widening in the financial gap between the haves and have-nots.

The SEC, at the top of the food chain, made $476 million in TV, bowl and NCAA tournament money in 2014-2015, with each school getting about $34 million. Among the Power 5 conferences, the ACC came in fifth, at $22.1 million per school.

In all, documents indicate that C-USA schools will split about $20.5 million in revenue from the league, including NCAA basketball tournament money. That’s down from the projected $34.4 million to be distributed this year.

The main thing propping up the revenues is football playoff money.

While SEC coaches are tooling around in exotic cars, C-USA coaches will be asked to meet by teleconference rather than in person.

Looks like they’re gonna need a bigger cupcake game payout.

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Manhood and conference expansion

If you think that a lot of what drives the decision making behind college athletics boils down to a bunch of assholes who are into johnson-measuring contests, then I think you’ll agree that Houston would make an excellent candidate for Big 12 expansion.

“That’s kind of disappointing that Texas with their big budget fears the University of Houston,” Fertitta said. “For other schools in the Big 12 to keep them out because they’re scared of them, men need to be men.”

I’ve heard worse reasons.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Put a cap on it.

The state

The Regents set limits on the amount of money from student fees and tuition that can go toward athletic programs at the state’s public colleges and universities. The cap will be between 65 percent and 85 percent of the athletic budget at most schools, depending on each school’s athletic association.

The new rules come as a national review of the high cost of athletics at some schools has led to debate about rising college costs and whether students get a good return on their investment when they foot the bill for sports. The goal is for Georgia colleges to seek money for sports through fundraising and other revenue sources beyond what students pay.

All well and good at UGA.  But elsewhere, not so much.

Georgia State University would have to cut the amount of student fees and tuition that fund its athletic programs by about $700,000, according to a new policy adopted by the state’s Board of Regents on Tuesday.

Part two is more of the same in terms where the crunch will fall.

The new rules also cap growth in athletics expenses at 5 percent a year.

The policy update will have little impact on athletic powerhouses Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, which already fund most of their sports programs through broadcasting rights, contributions, ticket sales and other revenue sources. UGA relied on just 2.8 percent of student funding for sports last year; Georgia Tech, 7.2 percent. Both were well under the 10 percent cap placed on them.

Georgia State is one of six schools — along with Armstrong State, Middle Georgia State, East Georgia State, Gordon State and Atlanta Metropolitan State colleges — that is over the subsidy cap, and must cut its reliance on student funding. Almost 68 percent of Georgia State’s athletics budget was subsidized last year, almost 3 percentage points higher than the 65 percent cap now set.

Personally speaking, this is a long time coming and the BOR is to be commended for adopting these policies.  But there’s little doubt it’s more of the rich getting richer.  I doubt Georgia Tech will mind much if Georgia State has a harder time raising money to be competitive.

Meanwhile, McGarity gets to keep students contributing to the reserve fund and can tell Kirby there’s only so much new spending a year he can do.  Win-win, baby!

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“You don’t want to be the first school to do this.”

Idaho’s decided to live in its own private Idaho.

Idaho will become what is believed to be the first program in history to decide to move down from FBS to the lower-division FCS beginning in 2018, CBS Sports was told Wednesday afternoon by a source close to the situation.

The move comes after the Sun Belt Conference exercised an option on March 1 to drop Idaho and New Mexico State from the league and go with a 10-team conference beginning in 2018.

Idaho then had to make a choice where it wanted to continue playing football. The only FBS option was to compete as an independent where it had previously spent a season in 2013. Without a conference tie, that option is not financially viable for the school.

A source told CBS Sports on Wednesday that the deal is done: Idaho will begin playing football in the Big Sky Conference in 2018.

If you want a clear sign that this move was overdue, try this out:

While the move enjoys some support in the community, Idaho will lose its FBS branding — playing at the highest level of college football. Idaho students fund football to the tune of $127 per semester in their tuition payments.

While that’s not as costly as some student subsidies in other conferences, it’s enough at Idaho. The athletic department will save money having to fund fewer scholarships (63 as opposed to 85), but a source told CBS Sports that the program will lose money overall[Emphasis added.]

So even moving down a division doesn’t stop the money bleed.  And worse for the program, moving down to the FCS level means lower payments for offering itself up as a sacrificial cupcake to P5 schools.  Still, and considering the ego that has to be swallowed in deciding to retreat like this, you have to figure the economics were extremely compelling.  In this day and age, that’s hardly surprising.

Idaho may be the first to relegate itself, but I doubt it’ll be the last.

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Today, in amateurism

Shorter Actual Marshall University athletic director Mike Hamrick: “College athletics are the most unfair competition in the sports world,” he said. “Look around. In the NBA, there’s a salary cap. In Major League baseball, there’s a salary cap. But there’s no cap in college athletics.”

It’s almost like these guys don’t realize anyone hears what they’re saying.

(h/t)

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The NCAA, helping the rich get richer since 1906

The reviews are in on yesterday’s decision to ban satellite camps.  It’s a boffo box office smash!

Bruce Feldman:  “In the end this will be seen by many as the NCAA putting Harbaugh and other cold weather coaches in their places but in reality it’s just closing the window on more recruits getting exposure to more coaches — and taking away more opportunity. And that’s nothing to celebrate.”

South Florida coach Willie Taggart:  “If you really think about it, [camps are] the right thing to do. Kids are going to camps all over the country, spending all this money to try and get the most amount of exposure, when it’s the schools that have all the money. The schools should be moving around so the players can get a larger variety of teams.”

Mike Leach: “It appears that the selfish interests of a few schools and conferences prevailed over the best interests of future potential student-athletes,” WSU coach Mike Leach said in a text message to the Seattle Times. “The mission of universities and athletic programs should be to provide future student-athletes with exposure to opportunities, not to limit them. It appears to me that some universities and conferences are willing to sacrifice the interests of potential student-athletes for no better reasons than to selfishly monopolize their recruiting bases.”

Kevin Scarbinsky:  “But seriously, and sadly, the biggest losers here are the members of what should be the most important constituency in college football. They’re the young men playing the game that enriches so many others, and as often happens when men in suits make this kind of decision, it reinforces the notion that college football isn’t all that interested in putting its players first.”

Houston Strake Jesuit coach James Clancy: “Helping kids is supposed to be why we do what we do, and this doesn’t help them in any way,” Clancy, who had three recruits sign with FBS programs in 2016, said. “It’s very disappointing. Every year, we would have kids that didn’t need to leave the Houston area to get exposure to out-of-city or out-of-state schools. Not every kid can afford the major expense to travel to a camp. People who make the decisions need to remember that it is all about the kids who are chasing dreams.”

Paul Myerberg“The new legislation hurts the Group of Five, but the real losers are clear: under-recruited prospects who used these camps to gain access to potential scholarship offers. If a move designed to even the playing field on a conference-wide level, the NCAA has instead robbed prospective student-athletes from casting their own wide recruiting net.

For every five-star recruit there are hundreds — if not thousands — of prospects angling for an opportunity. Technological advancements, such as the Hudl program used on nearly every level of football, have made it easier to sell oneself to an FBS or FCS program. Yet for school or player alike, there was no replacing the in-person audition.

There’s also a dollars-and-cents issue. Official visits are paid for by the host university, but can only be held during the regular season. At any other point, recruits must pay their own way to visit a university — demanding not only time but money, particularly if the trip includes family members.

Satellite camps brought recruiting to a local level, allowing recruits in a certain region — as with California prospects and Boise State last summer — similar access to coaches and instruction at a fraction of the cost. Based on what they saw at their camps, Boise State coaches estimated that six or seven recruits would be extended scholarship offers.

There’s the paradox of the satellite-camp ban: While it aids the SEC, keeping interlopers out of its recruiting backyard, the new legislation comes at a substantial cost to a wide swath of the FBS — and to the majority of potential student-athletes, many of whom leaned on the access provided by these camps to raise their own recruiting profile.

Seem fair? It’s not. Aimed a closing a loophole, the NCAA ban has instead slammed the door on the individuals it is designed to represent.”

I’m detecting a common theme here.  Then there’s this, too.

This was Alleva last spring to 104.5 FM ESPN in Baton Rouge: “Mainly what I’m concerned about is other schools coming into our state and stealing our kids.”

“Our” kids, eh?  I didn’t realize all Louisiana high schoolers belong to LSU.  Must be a real bitch for the other in state schools.

“We had Georgia State, West Georgia, Kennesaw State, Georgia Southern, and App State all lined up to come to our camp with Ohio State,” Central (Georgia) Gwinnett coach Todd Wofford said. “They loved and wanted that chance to evaluate that many kids that they wouldn’t have had a change to otherwise. I think people forget all about them with this decision. They don’t have the budget of major universities and we will see opportunities lost because of this decision.

“This decision impacts so many players on so many different levels. The high school recruit is the big loser today.”

And the big winner?  Well, start here…

“This happened because the SEC coaches are mad at Jim Harbaugh,” said one non-Power Five head coach. “That’s all. It’s a (expletive) joke. Think about all the kids who could’ve ended up getting MAC scholarships because they got seen by someone who probably would never have saw them before. That’s who you’re really hurting. What about those kids? It’s going to force these kids to spend more money. All you’re doing is providing more exposure.”

…  add to it the three other P5 conferences that voted with the SEC to end the practice.  And don’t forget to throw a little shit Harbaugh’s way for grandstanding about a practice that had gone on quietly and usefully for a number of years.

Nice, guys.  Give yourselves a collective pat on the back.

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UPDATE:

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