Category Archives: Political Wankery

Changing of the (old) guard

Well, now.  This is interesting.

Gov. Brian Kemp will soon have a chance to appoint supporters to dozens of additional posts – including a trio of coveted Board of Regents spots – after Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan challenged his predecessor’s lame-duck board appointments.

Duncan asserted last week that 64 board appointments made by Gov. Nathan Deal between Nov. 17 and his final day in office on Jan. 14 were not properly submitted. The fallout crystallized on Thursday when Kemp put forth a new list of names that exclude many of Deal’s appointments.

Among those not on the list were three Board of Regents members that Deal reappointed a week before he left office: Dean Alford, Don Leebern Jr. and Richard Tucker. A spot on the 19-member board is one of the plum appointments in state government…

But the highest-profile among the three is Leebern, who was first appointed to the board in 1991 and played a central part in legendary feuds between University of Georgia administrators and athletics officials in the early 2000s.

Vince Dooley’s smile just got a little brighter.  Also, don’t forget that politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

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60 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

“Athletes are a little different, but they are still bringing value.”

I don’t this has a shot at passage, but if it somehow were to become law… well, let’s just say one benefit of amateurism for the NCAA is that it’s got plenty of money left over to pay its lawyers.

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UPDATE:  This is what happens when you let things fester, instead of being proactive about potential issues that could bite you in the ass if left unmanaged.

More than seven months after Jordan McNair’s death, Maryland state lawmakers have proposed a bill that would upend the college athletics model across the state and give athletes the right to unionize and collectively bargain over issues related to health and safety, as well as compensation.

Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore) proposed the measure this week and said recent events on college campuses have highlighted a growing need for an independent advocate who can work on behalf of athletes. Lierman cited McNair, the 19-year old Maryland football player who collapsed after suffering exertional heatstroke at a conditioning workout in May, and the hundreds of young Michigan State athletes who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Larry Nassar.

“There’s an inherently unequal playing field between student-athletes and the universities that they go to,” Lierman said. “There’s so much money involved, which has made it much more weighted against students who are coming to school on scholarships and playing, especially the revenue-producing sports. There needs to be a conversation and probably legislation to correct the imbalance of power that exists right now.”

The bill would cover all of the universities in Maryland that field athletic teams and highlights four primary areas that would be open to collective bargaining: scholarship terms, insurance benefits, use of an athlete’s image or likeness and the establishment of an independent advocate to work on behalf of athletes. The proposal challenges the NCAA’s lucrative and time-honored model of amateurism that governs college athletics.

How many fronts can the NCAA fight on at one time?

7 Comments

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

Don’t mess with Texas.

From the stick to politics division:

Gov. Greg Abbott’s State of the State speech was heavy with policy priorities for the Texas Legislature, but he ended his 50 -minute address by throwing his support behind legislation that would require the University of Texas and Texas A & M to get back to playing football every year.

Beyond being music to many sports fans’ ears, Abbott’s support was an olive branch of sorts to the bill’s author, state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio. Abbott and Larson have clashed on several issues in recent years, most notably ethics reform, and the governor took the rare step of backing Larson’s challenger in last year’s GOP primary. On Tuesday, Abbott said he was inspired by the unprecedented spirit of “camaraderie and collaboration” that he has felt in the first month of the legislative session.

“I gotta tell you, I’m feeling it myself. I’m feeling moved, and I want to set an example,” the UT graduate turned governor said, smiling. “I’m willing to step up and put aside past differences and work with Lyle Larson to reinstate the rivalry game between the Aggies and the Longhorns.” Larson, an A&M graduate, filed House Bill 412 to require the schools to meet on the football field on the fourth Thursday, Friday or Saturday of November — returning a marquee matchup between the Texas schools to college football’s rivalry weekend.

“There’s a huge hole in rivalry weekend, and it’s A&M and Texas not playing each other,” Larson said shortly after filing the bill in November. “I think we’re depriving generations if we don’t restore this.”

Man, depriving generations, he tells ‘ya!  Sounds like a serious issue.

The schools have indicated a willingness to restart the rivalry, but “scheduling nonconference games is complicated”.  Might want to un-complicate that, boys.  The pols don’t sound like they’re letting this low hanging fruit go unplucked.

14 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.

Today, in stick to sports

I have to admit that I cringed a little at the news of Clemson’s invite to the White House to honor its national championship, not because of Trump’s politics, but because the timing is… well, not so hot.

President Donald Trump has received criticism for inviting the Clemson football team to the White House in the midst of a partial government shutdown.

Clemson players and coaches are set to visit the White House on Monday, exactly one week after winning the College Football Playoff National Championship and roughly three weeks into the longest government shutdown in history.

The optics of the White House celebration did not sit well with some observers nationally, and even some fans and graduates of Clemson University disagreed with the timing. The trip came together faster than visits from previous college football champions during the Trump administration.

The rushed timing is a tell, methinks.  Add to that the strong likelihood that the POTUS is going to use the occasion as a platform to ramble on about himself, and I seriously wonder if the folks who accepted the invite are going to question their decision midway through the ceremony.  Being used, even as a national champ, isn’t a good feeling.  I honestly hope I’m wrong, but the odds of this turning into something embarrassing are decent.

Ed. note.  By the way, I shouldn’t have to add this, but I expect I have to.  This isn’t a Playpen post.  Don’t treat it as such.  Stick to the specific topic at hand.  If you can’t do so, don’t expect to be a commenter on the next Playpen post.

112 Comments

Filed under Clemson: Auburn With A Lake, Political Wankery

That’ll show ’em.

Remember when Congress passed that bill sticking it to schools and other non-profits paying big salaries to certain folks (like coaches and athletic directors)?  How’s that working out?

However, while many athletics departments are now facing a substantial new expense, there also are schools that employ some of college sports’ highest-paid coaches and will not have to pay, according to newly issued guidance from the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service and the schools’ assertions of their federal tax-exempt status through documents posted on their websites and statements to USA TODAY Sports from school spokespeople.

The excise-tax provision was supposed to cover all non-profit organizations, imposing a 21% levy on compensation above $1 million — including bonuses — that goes to any of their five highest-paid employees in a year.

The guidance means that the provision has created three groups of schools: Those that clearly will have to pay the tax; those that can claim they won’t have to pay; and those that currently have to pay, but might have the ability change their status.

 ►Private schools and public schools carrying one type of federal tax-exempt status clearly will have to pay. For example, Duke faces a significant tab based just on men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski’s pay, who has made more than $5 million for years, according to the school’s federal tax filings.

 ►Other public schools — including Texas, Texas A&M, Clemson, Oregon, Minnesota and Houston — can claim they will not have to pay because they assert that they are government units that have federal tax immunity without holding any other tax-exempt status. Whether they ultimately will take this position remains to be seen. If Texas A&M does, it would save close to $1.4 million related just to the compensation of football coach Jimbo Fisher, whose basic annual pay is $7.5 million.

 ►Public schools that have another type of federal tax-exempt status are currently subject to the excise tax, but the new guidance also says these schools may voluntarily relinquish that status, although doing so might still leave them subject to the excise tax. Alabama, Michigan, UCLA and at least a dozen other public schools in Power Five conferences are in this group, according to documents posted on the schools’ websites. Alabama football coach Nick Saban’s $8.3 million in basic compensation, plus $875,000 in bonuses, for this season means the school faces more than $1.7 million in excise tax for him alone.

Hey, that sounds fair.

“You’ve got a major competitive imbalance here,” said Roger Denny, an executive compensation attorney with the law firm Spence Fane LLP who assists USA TODAY Sports with its annual compilation and analyses of college coaches’ compensation. “You have schools from the same states and the same conferences that are going after the same recruits, and you have an artificial restraint that affects hiring decisions at the highest level of those programs. …

“And there’s a trickle-down effect to that: You have a difference of $500,000 here, $1 million there (in the cost of paying a coach and the excise tax) and that can be the difference in being able to go after the best coordinator in the game or hiring a football staff full of analysts as some schools have done, or installing a camera system in your gym to help the basketball teams with video study, or putting WiFi in your stadium.”

Aw, don’t worry.  The guy who screwed the draft up in the first place thinks he’s on the mother.

But the new Treasury/IRS guidance doesn’t take into account Congressional intent. It’s based on what the law actually says.

“The positions reflected in this notice constitute a good faith, reasonable interpretation of the statute,” the document says.

Former House Ways and Mean Committee chair Kevin Brady, R-Tex.. has circulated a draft of a bill that would make “technical and clerical corrections” to the tax-law changes, including one designed to make the excise tax applicable to all public colleges and universities.

That “former” status might be something of a road block, Congressman.  But you do you while TAMU keeps its money.

13 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are set out and ready to go.

  • Here’s a lawsuit I’ve been waiting to see drop.  Adding the NCAA is a nice touch.
  • The AFCA wants the targeting rules changed to allow for two levels of penalties.  On its face, it sounds sensible, but you can just see that next can of worms waiting to be opened.
  • Malzahn’s “right hand man” jumps off the Gus Bus for… Georgia Tech.
  • Les Miles asks for a change to the recruiting rules after he sees the Kansas roster he inherited.
  • This really seems like the least they could do.
  • And this continues to be the name I hear most frequently as the candidate to be Mel Tucker’s successor, although it has to be said that Kirby seems to be in no hurry on that front.
  • Now they tell us.
  • “If a shoe company wanted to pay one of University of Washington’s running backs $50,000 to appear in a television commercial, House Bill 1084 would permit that.”

28 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

“Casual atmosphere. Great football and great conversation.”

Here’s an interesting article about how Texas schools use their football suites to lobby all manner of folks.  Is it effective?  Well, this yabbo says, nah.

The disclosure requirement is similar for appointees, like those that serve on the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Board, which must sign off on new academic programs offered by state universities. A few of the board’s nine members have been invited to watch games from chancellors’ or presidents’ suites over the last three years — including at UH, which had plans for a medical school recently approved by the board. A&M and Tech, which are jockeying over whether Tech should be allowed to open a new vet school, have also hosted board members and commissioner Raymund Paredes, as has UT-Austin.

Paredes and contacted board members said the invitations have no influence on decisions they make at the agency.

“Absolutely not,” said the commissioner, a sentiment echoed by other board members.

Sure, pal, whatever you say.  That must be why all the schools keep spending money to wine and dine folks like you.

6 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery