Category Archives: Political Wankery

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?

48 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

“The most important bill of the session, is it not?”

I haven’t said much about the Todd Gurley bill, the one that would criminalize people who lead college athletes into behavior that jeopardizes their NCAA eligibility, winding its way through the Georgia legislature because:

  1. I have a natural antipathy towards knee-jerk legislation that’s crafted in response to something that happened to a specific person.  (“Numbered House Bill 3 to reflect Bulldog’s jersey number…”)
  2. It’s unlikely to pass in the Senate.
  3. It’s a really stupid idea.

Doubt me on the stupid?  Let the bill’s author explain.

“The individual who enticed him to sell his autograph was not punished, and that is the reason for this bill,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem.

A 2003 law allows colleges to sue one of their own alumni whose actions harm the whole school’s eligibility, but that didn’t cover the Gurley situation.

“We punish the person who sells alcohol to minors as well as the person who buys the alcohol,” Fleming said, arguing the buyer of the autographs should have been punished the way Gurley was with the four-game suspension he served during the fall.

Nice analogy.  Evidently nobody has bothered to point out to Rep. Fleming that the NCAA’s rules aren’t codified criminal law in this country.  Although I’m sure Mark Emmert wouldn’t mind if some legislative body out there wanted to make the attempt.

Oh, and as far as punishing somebody “the way Gurley was”, Fleming’s bill imposes a $25,000 fine and jail time on somebody who is doing nothing more than engaging in normal commerce.  And by normal commerce, I mean doing something that with any person on the planet other than a college student-athlete wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.  You know, that whole free enterprise thing that we love to sing praises to here.

Fleming’s a Georgia grad, natch, so I’m sure this will stand him in good stead at whatever tailgates he attends.  But it’s a really dumb stunt.

31 Comments

Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Pay for play isn’t socialism.

But states giving schools money so that they can pay for cost of attendance stipends to aid in recruiting is.  (h/t)

21 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting

Must (Ess Eee) See TV

By the way, make sure you read the second story in the piece about LSU football to which I just posted the link.  It’s the quintessential story of financial life at P5 schools in today’s South.

Think because LSU’s athletic department pays all of its own bills that the slashing and burning of higher education funding isn’t going to affect the Tigers?

Think again.

LSU announced Tuesday the construction of its long-anticipated Tiger Athletics Nutrition Center will be postponed indefinitely.

Construction on it was supposed to begin in April. But because of the unseemliness of building another athletic palace while the academic side of the university is crumbling, the athletic department has decided to postpone said construction for now.

The athletic department has raised the money. That’s not the problem. The nutrition center will get built eventually. The problem is building a four-star restaurant while your neighbor is struggling to pay for his groceries.

Image, as they say, is everything.

Most SEC schools have or have plans to build a nutrition center. Oregon already has a fancy one, which bears a sign over the serving line that encourages Ducks athletes to “Eat Your Enemies – And The Other Food Groups.”

Whether LSU’s athletes truly need a dedicated nutrition facility is a matter for worthwhile debate another time. But what isn’t debatable is that Louisiana’s lack of commitment to higher education is starting to impact whether LSU will be able to land some high-profile commitments in a tangible, brick and mortar way.

SEC athletic programs are rolling in dough.  The schools they’re affiliated with, well, that’s another story.  LSU is in a worse case situation, exacerbated by Jindal’s ideology trumping competency, but there’s little doubt that, across the region, there is less and less financial support for public institutions coming from state government.

And while this story is about not rubbing people’s faces in the athletic department’s prosperity, the underlying message is that these schools need money to run and that won’t change in the face of public funding drying up. Schools have no choice but to go where the money is coming in, and in the SEC that’s television.  Every bit helps, and the presidents whom Slive answers to know that.  So don’t expect any moves that would endanger the cash cow. They literally can’t afford that.

35 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, SEC Football

Thursday morning buffet

Perhaps you’ll find something nourishing here.

58 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, The NCAA

“You can’t have the animals running the zoo in a college education.”

Pat Fitzgerald thinks it was a tragedy that he had to spend time “educating” his seniors about unionization.

It sure would have been a lot easier if somebody would have just made it illegal. Then you wouldn’t have to spend any time explaining yourself.

8 Comments

Filed under Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery

Mommy, make the bad schools share!

Boy, this is subtle.

In a meeting with the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle, Tilman Fertitta, chairman of UH’s Board of Regents, suggested that the Texas state legislature should pressure and/or threaten the Big 12 into giving UH a spot in the conference.  And by suggested I mean he just flat-out said it.

“Put pressure on the presidents; say, ‘If you don’t do this, we’re not going to fund you for this,’” Fertitta said of the state legislature’s role in meeting his goal. “It’s just the way it is. That’s the way to do it. …

“Be a big boy, step up and put this school that has almost 50,000 students and is so high-profile, has so many of the top schools in the United States, it’s a tier one university — we belong in the Big 12. We’re a big, major school with an unbelievable history in athletics and academia.”

The Texas legislature can’t even get Texas and Texas A&M on the same field anymore, but it’s gonna wade into this?  Sure it will.

Perhaps if ol’ Tilman availed himself of his school’s resources and learned that more Big 12 schools are located outside the state of Texas than inside he wouldn’t sound like such a dope.

16 Comments

Filed under Big 12 Football, General Idiocy, Political Wankery, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.