Category Archives: Political Wankery

When football fans make laws

I’ve already mentioned my lack of appreciation for the so-called “Todd Gurley bill” that Governor Deal just signed into law.  But I thought I’d add one last little tidbit about how dumb this whole thing is and will be.

Angered that a dealer — and a Florida fan at that — had not only arranged for the signature sales but then tried to sell the story to the highest media bidder, state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, started thinking about drafting a bill to prevent future shenanigans.

“That’s what really got most peoples’ dander up,” said Fleming, a rabid Bulldogs fan with undergraduate and law degrees from UGA. “I was disappointed when it happened. But I understand the young man comes from a very humble background. His mother didn’t have funds to properly repair the roof on the trailer she raised him in.”

The law has two possible penalties, one criminal, one civil, Fleming said.

“We plugged it into a law about alumni being overzealous,” he said. “Now it’s a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. It can be up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

“On the civil side, the university can sue the person who does this for any damages sustained, like losing a TV contract, not going to bowl games.”

So, Georgia could sue some shady autograph dealer if a player were forced to sit due to taking money and the team missed out on a bowl game?  If it were a case of having to settle for a bowl game of lesser prestige (and presumably lesser money), how would the conference sharing bowl moneys fit in with a calculation of damages?  And would the University, in an amusing turn of the pen, be forced to argue that the name on the back of the jersey does in fact matter sometimes, as in, “if we’d have had good ol’ number 3 suited up, no way Georgia misses the CFP field”?

Of course, the truly amusing thing here is that the party with the reserve fund can sue for damages, but the kid of humble background?  I guess he doesn’t really get Barry’s dander up.  At least he can paper the roof of momma’s leaky trailer with a copy of the bill.


Filed under Crime and Punishment, Political Wankery

Two can play the lobby Congress game.

The NCAA is spending money in Washington, preparing for the day when it asks for an antitrust exemption.  The big argument you can expect it to make about why it needs the protection will be about the academic mission.

And that’s why this letter was written.

In a letter dated April 28 and released Thursday by attorney Michael Hausfeld’s office, two lawyers wrote that continued Congressional examination is needed due to “the apparent inconsistencies and divergences in positions taken by the NCAA” before the senate committee last July and in federal court. The letter from Hausfeld and attorney Bob Orr, who are suing North Carolina and the NCAA in relation to the academic scandal at North Carolina, was addressed to Sens. John Thume, Bill Nelson, Jerry Moran and Richard Blumenthal.

“In the course of the (July 2014 Senate) hearing, representatives of the NCAA, including its President, Dr. Mark Emmert, testified, in essence, that the mission and commitment of the NCAA was to provide and assure a meaningful education for these athletes,” Hausfeld and Orr wrote. “Subsequent events and information, however, have raised serious doubts about the accuracy of that representation.”

The letter released by Hausfeld, who is also the lead attorney in the Ed O’Bannon lawsuit, cited the NCAA’s recent court filing in the Rashanda McCants lawsuit that stated the association has no responsibility to ensure “the academic integrity of the courses offered” at schools. The Hausfeld letter also cited a legal statement by the NCAA that it has no role in “the quality of the education student-athletes received at member institutions or to protect student-athletes from the independent, voluntary acts of those institutions or their employees.”

The NCAA has a sincerity problem.  That’s the price you pay when you fight so many battles with conflicting priorities.

The exemption hearings should be a real hoot.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Political Wankery, The NCAA

“You’ll never get any more faculty.”

Skipping past the time honored stupidity of the people running the great state of Louisiana assuming the oil money never runs low, the question I’ve got about LSU making contingency plans to file for financial exigency (academic bankruptcy) if state higher education funding doesn’t find a way out of the ditch it’s currently in, is what happens, if the school is forced to pull the trigger, on the sports front.

I mean, this sounds like some serious shit here:

Being in a state of financial exigency means a university’s funding situation is so difficult that the viability of the entire institution is threatened. The status makes it easier for public colleges to shut down programs and lay off tenured faculty, but it also tarnishes the school’s reputation, making it harder to recruit faculty and students.

“You’ll never get any more faculty,” said Alexander, if LSU pursues financial exigency.

The Louisiana Legislature is closing out its meetings this week without having made much progress in finding more funding for universities, colleges and others. Louisiana’s higher education community is facing an 82 percent funding cut if no extra state money is found.

The change would bring state funding for LSU from around $3,500 per undergraduate student to $660 per undergraduate student next year.

“States around the country spend more than that on their community colleges,” Alexander said.

If LSU ceases to operate in a way that gives it academic credibility, does the SEC do anything in response?  I’m not joking – remember all the highfalutin’ talk we heard about schools being good academic matches for conferences during the last round of realignment musical chairs?  If that has any meaning, what do you do about a school that’s going Third World, metaphorically speaking?

And what exactly does Les Miles sell to mamas on the recruiting trail in terms of academics?  “We’ve got nicer facilities than the JUCOs your son is looking at”?  Or does he just go all in and say, “screw it, we were never that serious about academics anyway”?

I’m not trying to be overly dramatic here.  It’s just that it’s a very strange situation and I’m curious where things go if the shoulder shrugging never gets LSU out of the ditch.


Filed under Academics? Academics., Political Wankery

You got your laws, they got theirs.

Georgia’s busy passing laws criminalizing people who pay college athletes, while there’s a South Carolina legislator who wants to make it legal for the home state powers to pay theirs.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

Freedom’s just another word.

It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that as the NCAA was willing to wade into the murky waters of Confederate flagdom, it’s now preparing to take a stand on another culture war matter.

On the eve of next week’s Final Four in Indianapolis, the NCAA expressed concern about a new Indiana law that will allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers based on “religious freedom” and suggested future NCAA championships in the state could be impacted.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Thursday signed into law a measure that has created uproar in the state where the NCAA is located. Some conventions are threatening to pull out of Indianapolis. Greg Ballard, the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, broke with the Republican governor on the bill and said it would put the city’s economy at risk.

“The NCAA national office and our members are deeply committed to providing an inclusive environment for all our events,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement Thursday after the bill was signed. “We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees. We will work diligently to assure student-athletes competing in, and visitors attending, next week’s Men’s Final Four in Indianapolis are not impacted negatively by this bill. Moving forward, we intend to closely examine the implications of this bill and how it might affect future events as well as our workforce.”

I don’t know where the NCAA has been on this before now.  It’s not as if Indiana is setting a trend here.  Does this mean Emmert’s prepared to announce that the organization will prohibit championship games it sponsors in every one of those nineteen states (soon to be twenty, if Georgia’s proposed law passes) that allow individuals to discriminate against gays?


UPDATE:  The Big Ten weighs in.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Who you gonna believe, me or those lying documents?

I’m not sure what I like best about this AP story on the UAB memos, that the university president thinks the old story line still works despite printed evidence to the contrary, or that the state legislator who’s calling for his head runs a Rivals Web site dedicated to UAB sports.

Either way, it’s quintessential Alabama.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Political Wankery, Whoa, oh, Alabama

The death knell of amateurism?

Honestly, in my lifetime, I can’t recall an US President as interested in the framework of college athletics as the current occupant of the White House.  Yeah, I remember Nixon being heavily into football, but not about, say, whether college football should have a playoff.  Or what the future may hold for a sport having a serious problem with concussions.  Or chest bumping with Trooper Taylor

But I digress.

The latest foray into college athletics by the Kenyan Marxist Usurper is in the area of – gasp!amateurism.

Weighing in on the growing debate over amateurism in college sports, President Barack Obama said on Friday that universities bear “more responsibilities than right now they’re showing” toward their athletes and that the NCAA should require schools to guarantee athletic scholarships with no strings attached.

“[T]he students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here,” Obama told The Huffington Post in a sit-down interview. “An immediate step that the NCAA could take — that some conferences have already taken — is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.”

“It doesn’t matter whether they get cut, it doesn’t matter whether they get hurt,” the president went on. “You are now entering into a bargain and responsible for them.”

Ordinarily, I would expect this to provoke immediate catcalls on the right (it wouldn’t be the first time), except Obama had to go and complicate things by saying this:

He stopped short of saying that it was time to pay collegiate athletes or that they should have the right to unionize — a possibility now under consideration by his appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.

“In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars?” Obama asked. “How much does a Anthony Davis get paid as opposed to somebody else? And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.”

Mark Emmert just pumped his fist.

Needless to say, I disagree.  Further, I have no idea where the President is going with this thought.

“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said. “That’s not fair.”

Emmert just put his hand back in his pocket.  I’m using mine to scratch my head.

Why does everyone have such a hard time with this?  Is a free market for all that hard a concept to grasp?


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA