Category Archives: Political Wankery

Josh Brooks pushes back.

And good for him.

I’ve had the privilege to work in collegiate athletics for more than 20 years, 11 of which have been at the University of Georgia. I love Athens. I have three boys that attend Clarke County schools.  Athens is woven into the fabric of my family’s life, so I was both saddened and disappointed to hear that an Athens-Clarke County commissioner recently made inaccurate, overgeneralized, and hurtful statements about our football student-athletes in a public meeting — statements that she has continued to defend in subsequent comments.

… The fact is, most of our student-athletes excel in all aspects of life, and while that does not excuse any instances of wrongdoing, it certainly underscores the fact that those transgressions tend to be the exception — not the rule.  The insinuation that a disproportionate number of our athletes are committing violent crimes is not only grossly inaccurate, but also woefully inappropriate and reckless. The idea that an overgeneralized, hurtful, and inaccurate statement should be accepted because it was in response to sarcastic quip about players drafted in a small room, is distasteful and careless. Misinformation and divisive rhetoric made public in any way is irresponsible, particularly coming from an elected official, as it provides a spark that can and has spread quickly.

Somebody from UGA needed to let Melissa Link know her comments about the football team were over the top.  Well said, sir.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

“It’s a race to the bottom to some extent.”

And nobody wants to get left behind.

Gregory relayed the memory last week as an inspiration after rushing at the last minute to push through an amendment that would relax the state’s name, image and likeness law in hopes of further compensating athletes. In a move that should resonate from the SEC to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, a proposed bill would allow any athletic department official — including coaches — to assist with NIL deals.

After passing both the Missouri house and senate on Friday — less than a day before the end of the legislative session for the year — SB 718 now awaits only Gov. Mike Parson’s signature to become law.

“I want Missouri to have the best players,” said Gregory, now a farmer who grows corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,100 acres in the western half of the state.

Especially in the SEC.

That about summarizes the blink-and-you-miss-it climate. Missouri is poised to become the latest state to expand NIL opportunities beyond the NCAA rulebook.

Late last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill that significantly broadened NIL rights. It allows interaction between collectives, coaches and athletes. That could not have been well-received by the NCAA, which singled out collectives last week. Specifically, that law means the Knoxville-based Spyre Sports Group, which is overseeing the $8 million contract of a prospect believed to be quarterback Nico Iamaleava, would no longer be banned from interaction by the state.

Existing laws in Louisiana and Illinois are undergoing amendment conversions that would allow booster involvement…

In February, Alabama repealed its NIL law when it was deemed more restrictive than the NCAA’s meager standards. You’re not alone if you’ve noticed a lot of this activity is bubbling up from SEC schools.

“[The Missouri amendment] was more in response to looking at some other SEC state schools either a) just completely repealing their language or b) really the catalyst was when Tennessee made the same change that we did,” Gregory said.

He added: “When you have millions upon millions of dollars being thrown around and TV contracts and advertising and ticket sales and donors, the reason that [money] happens is the performance on the field. And the performance on the field comes from great coaches and great players.”

You have to think at some point in time Georgia joins the queue.


Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

Mark Richt has lost control of the ACC Commission.

She seems nice.

Commissioner Melissa Link has responded to criticism spurred by a comment she made during a budget hearing in which she said football players at the University of Georgia are “out there raping and murdering.”

On Thursday, Athens commissioners met for the first of a series of budget hearings, and during this meeting, they discussed recruitment at the police department, which has seen a high number of vacancies.

In the budget proposal, there is a potential Police Youth Cadet Corp program that would have 10 part-time cadets work with the police department and serve as a path to employment for Athens community youth.

In the meeting, Link was skeptical of the idea and brought up the alternative of other recruitment tools, including recruiting from the University of Georgia.

“I brought this up before [I] had [a] discussion with Chief Spruill about direct recruiting, maybe, from UGA athletes,” said Link during the budget meeting. “They’re highly fit and intelligent college-educated young people who might want to stay in this community.”

Later in the conversation, Commissioner Mike Hamby remarked, “I think all the football players got drafted.”

As a response to Hamby, Link made her comment about UGA football players.

“A lot of them are out there raping and murdering,” said Link.

She did amend her comment to a “couple of them”, so there’s that.  Anyway, it was really meant as support.

“The fact is the vast majority of college athletes never get anywhere near a professional career in athletics and one would hope it would be a priority of the program to assure that those individuals transition smoothly into productive adulthood. Sadly, quite a few do not,” said Link.

Link said that Gaines did not take into account the context of the conversation, which she said was a discussion of giving graduating Georgia athletes an opportunity to “prevent straying down the wrong path.”

Maybe the ones who avoid raping and murdering should consider a career in politics.


Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

The call is coming from inside the house.

Missouri lawmakers have amended a state law to give college coaches and university employees a more active role in the endorsement opportunities their athletes now have in the name, image and likeness movement. The amendment was introduced on the House floor Thursday then passed through both chambers in Jefferson City and now waits for Gov. Mike Parson’s signature.

Last summer, the state legislature passed a bipartisan bill similar to other versions around the country that allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness in the form of paid endorsements with third-party companies. On Thursday, Rep. Kurtis Gregory, R-Marshall, introduced an amendment to the law to allow coaches and school officials to become participants in the process, similar to a recent Tennessee amendment signed into state law earlier this spring.

“As with anything that is new and evolving, we need to go in and update a few things to stay competitive, and that’s what we’re doing,” Gregory said on the House floor. “Some other states have gone in and made changes to theirs. And that’s all we’re trying to do is stay on par to make sure our coaching staff and athletic department can go out and recruit the best of the best athletes get them to come to our state.

If anarchy is the result of the absence of government regulation, can we really call this the Wild West if the sheriff is the one making the rules?


Filed under Political Wankery, Recruiting


I may have mentioned California’s SB-1401, which is coming down the turnpike and would require schools to share revenue with athletes in the money-making sports, football and basketball.  I don’t really want to get into the pros and cons of the bill in this post, but, rather, I’d like to touch on an assumption that everyone seems to automatically make when discussing pay for play in revenue producing sports.

This:  “Public and private universities alike fear that SB-1401 could devastate the budgets for money-losing Olympic sports that depend on the revenue generated by football and men’s basketball.”

Why don’t they ever fear what the likes of SB-1401 could do to administrative and coaching salaries, which have been boosted for decades by athletic departments not having to pay college athletes?

Um… that’s a rhetorical question.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Brothers in arms

The gentlemen running P5 athletics have shown themselves to be consumed with petty infighting over things like playoff expansion and television contracts in the wake of the SEC’s power grab of Oklahoma and Texas.  It’s good to know, though, that there’s still one thing that binds them together through thick and thin.

Doing it for the kids.

Amid unrest within college sports, two Power 5 commissioners are traveling to the nation’s capital to lobby lawmakers for the creation of federal legislation to regulate name, image and likeness (NIL), a U.S. Senate aide told Sports Illustrated on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey will meet with U.S. senators on Capitol Hill to fight for a congressional mandate to regulate what has evolved into the NCAA’s latest festering problem. Sankey and Kliavkoff, two of the industry’s most influential leaders, are teaming up to encourage lawmakers to pass an NIL statute. They are also expected to seek senators’ help in preventing what they believe is another potential issue looming for college sports: employment status for college athletes.

Mark Emmert may be gone, but his spirit lives on.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Not finished yet

Cali ain’t stopping, folks.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’m sure whomever the NCAA hires to be its next head will be on this particular mother.


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

Make Urnge Great Again

Holy crap, Tennessee.

A new Tennessee bill is being called a “gamechanger” for college Name, Image and Likeness deals.

The bill, SB2392, makes changes to how NIL groups can work with college coaches and athletic departments. Under the new rules, groups like Spyre Sports Group can be more hands-on with athletes and athletic officials, like participating in the recruiting process. The bill changes previous rules that forbade NIL groups from participating in recruiting. Now, an NIL group could even be endorsed by athletic officials, like University of Tennessee coaches Josh Heupel, Rick Barnes and Tony Vitello.

We’ve gone from prohibiting NIL compensation to be allowed in the recruiting process to opening the door and inviting it in for recruits in, what… less than 18 months?

WVLT News spoke with Spyre Co-Founder Hunter Baddour, who is excited for the bill, saying “it’s a gamechanger.” Under the bill, athletic departments could even host events aimed at connecting donors with NIL, something that was not allowed before.

Ultimately, the bill means more NIL involvement at the college level, something that should mean more opportunities for student athletes.

If you think that’s why they’re passing this, you need to think again.


Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting

No justice, no peace

When it comes to the NCAA, it seems Congress is in a mood.

For years now, college coaches, athletes and administrators have skewered the NCAA for an infractions process they say is unfair, dawdling and lacking transparency.

Turns out, at least two U.S. senators feel the same.

This week, senators Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) and Cory Booker (D., N.J.) will introduce a bipartisan bill, the NCAA Accountability Act of 2021, that establishes strict requirements of the long-maligned NCAA infractions process, overhauling the operation by involving the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorney general.

Bipartisan!  Nothing brings our politics together like the NCAA.

The NCAA Accountability Act of 2021 touches on an oft-criticized process: the NCAA’s enforcement of violations through sometimes years-long investigations. The bill creates a set of deadlines to facilitate quicker investigations, shortens the statute of limitations on violations and establishes a new appeals process:

• The bill requires NCAA inquiries to be completed within eight months of a school receiving a notice that an investigation has opened.

• The NCAA, the bill says, cannot investigate violations that were alleged to have happened more than two years before the notice of investigation was sent to a school. The current statute of limitations is four years.

• The bill would prohibit the NCAA from using “confidential sources” as evidence for a decision.

• And a school can appeal punishments by using a three-arbiter panel, different from the NCAA’s current appeals committee.

The proposal also requires the NCAA to submit an annual report of investigations to the U.S. attorney general and each state’s attorney general while also charging the Department of Justice to ensure the governing body of college sports follows the bill’s statutes. Violations will be dealt with severely. The bill authorizes the Department of Justice to fine the NCAA as much as $15 million and to order the removal of any member of the NCAA’s highest governing body, its Board of Governors.

Of course, there’s a likelihood this just encourages the NCAA to throw up its hands on the enforcement process entirely, but I’m not entirely sure that’s a bug.

I just wish somebody had enough of a sense of humor to name the bill after Jerry “The NCAA is so mad at Kentucky they’re going to give Cleveland State another year of probation” Tarkanian.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

There are none so blind as those who will not hear.

The NCAA wants to pretend stalling is still a viable strategy, but some members of Congress are of a different mind.

Members of Congress are planning to host a virtual summit with college athletes and advocates next week in hopes of stoking momentum for NCAA reform.

The summit, scheduled to take place Wednesday in the lead-up to this year’s Final Four weekend, will include a trio of panels moderated by Democratic senators and representatives with active NCAA-related legislation proposals. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) will lead a discussion on the importance of allowing college athletes to organize and collectively bargain. Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Massachusetts) will moderate a panel on gender equity and Title IX. Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) will focus on the need to protect the safety and well-being of college athletes.

No, it’s not going to make any difference in the short term, other than to serve as a reminder that the pressure on schools to make further changes in collegiate athletics isn’t going away any time soon.

This meeting comes on the heels of a period of landmark changes in college sports including the opportunity for athletes to make money from their name, image and likeness for the first time and a Supreme Court ruling that cast serious doubts about the NCAA’s amateur status. More than a half dozen members of Congress have introduced bills during the past two years designed to reshape the NCAA in a variety of ways, but so far none has made significant progress toward becoming law.

When the choice is between embarking on a process in which you still have significant power to formulate those changes or passively letting the courts and politicians dictate the course you’ll have to take, it seems pretty obvious to me which is the better option.  Then again, I’m not Mark Emmert.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA