Category Archives: Political Wankery

This ought to be great for game day traffic.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate tailgating in Athens during election years?

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Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

“We have to claim those championships. It’s the law.”

Don’t ever change, Auburn fans.

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Political Wankery

Oh, wait. You people were serious about that?

The city of Birmingham pledged $500,000 a year in support for UAB football, but neglected to include that amount in its just passed budget, because, according to Birmingham Finance Director Tom Barnett, the city had not anticipated that it would need to deliver on that promised funding so soon.

Too bad you can’t spend bullshit.  Oh, yeah, along those lines…

The UAB football program still has the mayor’s support, the finance director said.

As the cliché goes, that and five bucks will get you a mocha latte at Starbucks.

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Filed under It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Political Wankery

Whatever makes you feel good, podnah.

You knew this had to be coming.

For what it’s worth, from Ole Miss to Steve Spurrier, there isn’t a coach or a program in the SEC that wants to be linked to the Confederate flag nowadays.  So the suggestion that “the SEC as a body should join the chorus” of protest against the flag flying in Columbia is a day late and a dollar short, pal.  If Spurrier’s condemnation of the symbol didn’t move the necessary hearts and minds in 2007, I doubt it’s gonna have any more effect today.

Although I do wonder what would happen if a protest movement against student-athletes signing with Clemson or South Carolina cranked up and had an impact.

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Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

Friday morning buffet

Here’s something to help fuel you through the last working day of the week:

  • 247Sports thinks Georgia’s on course for a whale of a recruiting year in 2016.  Of course, that was before this news broke.  Which is why I don’t spend time speculating on recruits until they’re signed, sealed and delivered.  Your mileage may vary, of course, which is what keeps the recruiting services in business.
  • Insert “Mark Richt has lost control” snark here.  (And no, there isn’t a Herbstreit reaction to the news I can point you to.)
  • Jim Harbaugh isn’t going to listen to you badmouth the United States of America.
  • If you don’t think the Alabama-Georgia game is going to be crazy enough already, Michael Carvell points out that that’s the most attractive home date for Jacob Eason to take his official visit.
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill wants colleges to continue to make improvements in the way they handle sexual assault accusations against athletes.  Look at the bright side, schools:  at least somebody in Congress is paying attention to the way you run your athletics!
  • Brian Schottenheimer is a big fan of Nick Chubb.  Smart man.
  • And Georgia has added a 22-year old linebacker with an interesting backstory as a walk-on.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football

In today’s edition of “I didn’t think it was possible”

Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush manages to make me feel defensive for the NCAA.

“In my mind, the NCAA is the last plantation in America,” Rush said. “Certainly it takes the layman’s capital and talent and the skills of its participants under the guise of being amateurs, promises them education, but then it exploits their labor — without pay I might add … It should be the National Cabal of Collegiate Athletes.”

Dude, if you can manage to turn off the likes of me with your rhetoric, you might want to rethink your approach a wee bit.

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Filed under Political Wankery

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