Category Archives: Recruiting

Making a good first impression

Why don’t we check in and see how social media is taking in Georgia’s boffo new NIL legislation.  I’m sure there are a lot of favorable hot takes…

Yeah, that’s going well.  Naturally, there are tons of Georgia fans out there trying to correct the record, but even they’re having to concede the law is stupidly drafted — and for no good reason, since every major school in the state has already walked away from the pooling arrangement.

And those are just the first day hot takes.  Imagine what the sales job will be like for Georgia coaches after Nick Saban sadly explains the facts of life to recruits trying to compare Alabama’s NIL law with Georgia’s.  Somehow, I don’t think It’s not fair for just the skill players to take all the money, otherwise why is somebody going to block for you? is gonna make everything better.

If they ever create an annual award for horseshit purity in the name of Georgia football (call it the Georgia Way Award, natch), I know who I’ll nominate for the first recipient.

79 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting, Social Media Is The Devil's Playground

TFW you’ve caught up on the talent front

Here’s your morning Dawg porn, folks.

I’m still pinching myself over the Georgia > Alabama numbers.  Pretty stunning, Kirbs.

34 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

HB 617 and recruiting

“I’m a little biased, but I believe this is going to give coach (Kirby) Smart every bit of help he needs to bring home a national championship.”Brian Kemp

As my readers know, I’m pro-NIL compensation for college athletes as an issue of fundamental fairness.  That being said, while Kemp gave lip service to that consideration at yesterday’s signing (“College football is so big now. The finances are so big. The players have a lot at risk. You’ve got other sports where people can go pro right out of high school. I think this is the right step at the right time in the right direction to try to continue to protect the student-athlete but also give the athletes the benefit of what others are getting across the sports world.”), make no mistake about it, the driving force behind the legislation’s passage was to keep Georgia football from falling behind in recruiting versus programs in states where NIL legislation has already passed.

All you have to do is look at yesterday’s setting where Kemp signed HB 617 to get the message.

All of which begs the question as to why the legislature passed and Kemp signed into law a bill that contains a provision that will surely muddy the message.  I’m referring to the now infamous pooling arrangement.

In English, here’s what we’ve got:

Colleges in the Peach State can elect to require their players (on all of their teams) to share up to 75% of compensation received for the use of their name, image, or likeness—including through endorsements, sponsored business arrangements and influencer deals on social media. The forced “sharing” would occur pursuant to what House Bill 617 terms a “pooling arrangement,” with the shared compensation directed to “a fund for the benefit of individuals previously enrolled as student athletes in the same [college].”

The fund would be fashioned as an escrow account controlled by the athletic director. After they graduate (or after 12 months pass from leaving early), former players could draw pro rata shares of the fund’s pooled contributions “based on the number of months the individual was a student athlete.”

News of the provision swept through social media and regular media like a storm.  Some of the takes were flat out misleading, like this one.

One of the most notable distinctions in HB 617 is that it calls for student-athletes to deposit funds into an escrow account and wait to withdraw until they leave school. The bill also includes a revenue-sharing component, which sponsors say is intended to help curtail team dysfunction, but the provision has drawn criticism since it allows schools to take up to 75% of an athlete’s earnings for redistribution.

But almost as damaging were ones like this Yahoo! Sports header:  “New Georgia law legalizing college athlete endorsements also allows schools to take athletes’ money”.  “Allows” is doing some heavy lifting there, but it’s not an inaccurate description.  And that, I think, is going to pose a problem for Kirby Smart and his staff on the recruiting trail this year.

As McCann notes, the pooling arrangement is unique to Georgia.  What that means is other states with NIL legislation haven’t created a framework that allows their schools to retain most of a player’s earnings and distribute those to other student-athletes.  Which in turn means that coaches in states like Alabama and Florida are about to engage in some serious shit talking with recruits about how, unlike in Georgia, their programs won’t be stealing money from them.

Now, sure, Georgia’s compliance office and Jere Morehead ran away from the pooling arrangement about as fast as they could.  But as long as the law is on the books in its present form, rival coaches can present all the faux concern they like — hey, you never know at Georgia, right? — and that will leave Georgia coaches having to explain the situation.  As the old saying goes, when you’re explaining, you’re losing.

The real puzzle to me is why anyone thought this was a good idea in the first place.  Not only is it a scab that will be picked at endlessly on the recruiting trail, it’s an administrative nightmare for an athletic department to manage.  The school has to manage its players’ contracts, collect the money from a variety of sources, construct a database of all student-athletes who played sports, as well as the time frame for each of them, track the twelve-month period before anyone is eligible for payment and then cut checks.  Beyond that, because the school would insert itself into the payment process, it would have to manage things in a manner that doesn’t run afoul of federal regulations like Title IX, which is why HB 617 requires that schools can’t share or distribute funds in ways that discriminate on the basis of race, gender or other protected demographic traits.

Quite simply, who needs the aggravation?

I can’t figure that out, nor can I figure out why the language was added in the first place.  If you explore the bill’s history in the legislature, it comes out of the House as a fairly anodyne product, without any unique restrictions.  However, once it makes it way to the Senate, that changes.  The pooling arrangement is added to the bill’s language, first with a 50% cap, and then increasing that to 75%, which is how the final version reads.

The Senate amendments were both introduced by Sen. Bill Cowsert (R-Athens), one of the bill’s sponsors.  Note the area he represents, which raises the question as to what sort of input UGA had behind the language being added.  And why.  The only comment I was able to find from Cowsert about the law yesterday was this:

“I’m actually concerned about the potential for folks to cross the line, going from a supporter to using someone to promote their products and becoming a booster,” Cowsert told Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We have to be very careful that this isn’t used inappropriately by businesses agreeing to essentially pay some for their NIL when they really want to persuade someone to come to the University of Georgia.”

Is the point to the pooling arrangement to lessen the incentive for a booster to cross the line?  I’ve got no idea, but in any case, it doesn’t matter because Georgia has already taken the pooling arrangement off the table.  The kindest thing I can say about the drafting is that it appears to be working at cross-purposes with itself, but I suspect that will be of small comfort to Kirby Smart when he sits down with a recruit.  (Then again, how likely is it that Smart had no idea of the bill’s language before it was signed?)

Maybe I’m reading too much into all this, but it sure seems like an invitation to score some easy negative recruiting points.  We’ll see how it plays out, but from where I sit right now, I expect Georgia hopes for a federal preemption of HB 617 to eliminate the chatter or, in the absence of that, a trip back to the General Assembly next year to amend the law.

************************************************************************

UPDATE:  I missed this quote from Cowsert at the end of Weiszer’s piece from yesterday.

Cowsert said of the pooling provision: “It’s not fair for just the skill players to take all the money, otherwise why is somebody going to block for you?”

There you go.  Oy.

99 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery, Recruiting

Kirby Smart 1, Pooling Arrangement 0

This is worthy of a separate post on HB 617.  Seth Emerson asked the question I hoped someone in the media would, and got the answer I wanted to see.

It’s Branding Time in Athens!

***********************************************************************

UPDATE:  Two quotes from Seth ($$)

… Morehead essentially confirmed that the NCAA has cried “uncle” on making its own rule on the issue: It’s up to Congress now, less than three months from when these state laws start going into effect.

The NCAA has “sunset” its own committee that was formulating a plan for NIL, revealed Morehead, who was on that committee. He’s also on the NCAA Board of Governors, which still discusses the issue regularly, but they all realize now the issue is out of their hands.

“A number of states are passing laws like this one,” Morehead said of Georgia’s law, which goes into effect July 1. “But I think long term our hope is there will be a federal solution down the road. Perhaps by July 1. It may come later. It may never come, we can’t predict what Congress will do. But I think the goal will be to see uniformity around the country.”

“Student-athletes may earn compensation based on their name, image or likeness, beginning July 1. We have no plans to provide for a pooling arrangement,” UGA compliance director Will Lawler told The Athletic. “In short, UGA student-athletes would not have to wait a year after they leave school to receive NIL compensation.”

The towel, she has been thrown in.  Barring something wild from the Supreme Court or Congress granting the NCAA an antitrust exemption, NIL, in one form or fashion, is here to stay.  Amateurism, redefined!

63 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

“… after Tennessee seemed to have recruiting momentum a year ago.”

Ooof, what a mess you are, Tennessee recruiting ($$).

On top of that, the numbers (No. 13 class in 2019 and No. 10 in 2020) lie here, considering the attrition through the transfer portal. Three of the Vols’ top four signees in 2019 are gone, and that doesn’t include Gray, who led the Vols in rushing and was second in receptions. The Vols’ top signee in the 2020 class, defensive back Key Lawrence, is with Morris at Oklahoma, too.

Last spring, amid the recruiting shutdown, Tennessee had the nation’s No. 2 class for 2021 and was aiming to finish in or near the top five. Then the losing started. That, combined with the coaching change, contributed to the Vols losing seven once-committed four- or five-star players from the class. Then the top two signees who enrolled early (Willis and Salter) were suspended for all of spring practice for an off-field incident. Four players who signed with the Vols during the early signing period were released from their letter of intent, including four-stars Dylan Brooks, KaTron Evans and Cody Brown. The Vols ultimately tumbled to No. 22 in the 247Sports Composite, which places the 2021 class eighth in the SEC.

That Phil Fulmer sure could pick ’em.

The best thing the Vols have going for them is the schedule.  This year’s non-conference slate is led by a home game against Pitt and goes downhill from there.  Outside of Florida and Georgia, the East isn’t overwhelming.  You could almost see a bowl game in UT’s immediate future, but you’re not the NCAA.

41 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting

This is what I’m talking about.

As much as I enjoyed mocking Paul Johnson, from a Georgia perspective, having a Georgia Tech head coach who couldn’t recruit his way out of a paper bag if you gave him a flash light and shoved him towards the open end wasn’t a good thing, because it made the state a more inviting place for rival SEC programs to come in and harvest talent.

So let me be the first to say I welcome our new Waffle House overlord — not over Kirby Smart, but the rest of the usual suspects.

Georgia Tech picked up a landmark commitment for its 2022 recruiting class Saturday, when four-star safety Jaron Willis from Lee County High announced his decision to accept a scholarship offer to join the Yellow Jackets.

Willis is rated the No. 17 prospect in the state of Georgia (247Sports Composite) and also the No. 150 overall prospect in the country…

In March, Willis listed six finalists – Tech, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky and Ole Miss.  [Emphasis added.]

Tech can make a good living in the ACC with in state recruits that Smart passes on.  Good for them.  And if along the way the Jackets make life on the recruiting trail harder for the likes of Dan Mullen, good for us.

23 Comments

Filed under Georgia Tech Football, Recruiting

And… they’re off!

No, this isn’t a post about the Kentucky Derby.  It’s about how coaches are already laying plans for opening the doors to recruits on June 1st.

With the pandemic winding down and COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise, the NCAA announced earlier this month a highly anticipated return to the normal recruiting calendar: Beginning on June 1 and running through the 27th, FBS programs will be allowed to host official and unofficial visitors on campuses for the first time since the NCAA enacted a dead period last March — ending a 445-day stretch in which coaches and recruits made eye contact on Zoom and FaceTime or not at all.

“The virtual thing showed us that there are a lot of different avenues and means to being able to recruit,” said Maryland coach Mike Locksley. “But there’s still no substitution for that face-to-face, personality, get a feel for people and who they are.”

On the heels of this unprecedented span, June promises to be unlike any period in the history of major-college recruiting. With thousands of prospects flocking onto campuses across nearly four open weeks and coaches now able to conduct workouts with unofficial visitors, the month will shock the FBS back into an established rhythm.

While teams have spent months preparing for the resumption of normal recruiting activities, the expected flood of visitors has the potential to strain the resources and manpower of every program.

Every program?  Color me skeptical about that.  Nick Saban’s had three interns working on this since the COVID lockdown was announced last year.  Kirby sent Josh Brooks a recruiting budget request that Brooks approved without looking at it.

Florida’s in good shape, too, but that’s because the Portal Master™ has transitioned to a higher plane of recruiting.

“The recruiting aspect, I don’t have to be at my desk to do it,” Mullen said. “Wherever you have a phone and you can text kids or you can FaceTime kids, and you’re calling and doing all of that part on the recruiting side of things, it’s not that big of a deal.”

Humor aside, this next month is going to present a challenge for every program.

But it’s on June 1 that the floodgates will open, with a stream of committed and uncommitted prospects arriving on FBS campuses just as coaches juggle the two biggest topics in roster management: the explosive popularity of the transfer portal and the uncertain number of scholarships available in 2022, when programs are expected to be required to return to the standard 85-scholarship limit after the NCAA granted a one-year respite to accommodate seniors who accepted another year of eligibility.

The matter of scholarship allotment moving forward looms over the entire landscape of football recruiting and has already led several big-name programs to adopt different tactics to remain flexible in the face of uncertainty.

It’s not just getting to do talent evaluations in the flesh that will count.  It’s figuring out how to construct a program’s roster after the evaluations that’s going to be critical.   My money’s on the coaches who have already proven themselves to be masters at roster management.  Gee, I wonder who they are?

10 Comments

Filed under Recruiting

Your Daily Gator philosophizes.

Gawd, this is such horseshit.

Allow me to retort.

Furthermore,

When Mullen actually wins an SECCG and makes the CFP field, please get back to us on that debate.  Meanwhile, don’t forget to check that portal while Kirby keeps racking up top three classes.

40 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Recruiting

Why I care about the NFL Draft, part two

Quite simply, because stars matter, damn it ($$).

Of the 32 players selected Thursday night:

• Seven were five-star prospects out of high school
• Ten were four-star prospects out of high school
• 14 were three-star prospects out of high school
• 12 were rated as top-100 prospects

Some context:

• Yes, there were more three-star prospects drafted than five-star prospects. But you have to remember that there is not an even number of three-, four- and five-star prospects in each recruiting class. In a given year, there are roughly 35 five-star prospects and another 300 or so four-star prospects. That means the bulk of the nearly 3,000 college signees each year are three-star prospects or lower. A glance at the first-round results shows that more than half of the selections were four- and five-star prospects even though three-star prospects make up about 90 percent of those who sign in each recruiting cycle.

• That means roughly 10 percent of those who sign annually are four- or five-star prospects — but they made up more than half of the first-round selections Thursday night.

Math is hard, but it ain’t that hard.  There’s a reason Georgia’s recruiting budget is ginormous.

36 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Emmert fiddles while amateurism burns.

Your NCAA, hard at work.

Set to pass NIL at its virtual convention in mid-January, the NCAA delayed the decision, citing a letter from the Department of Justice. However, a more practical reason has emerged. The governing body of college athletics is waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on its antitrust case, NCAA v. Alston, before passing any NIL legislation, multiple sources tell Sports Illustrated. Some contend that approving NIL would damage the NCAA’s argument in Alston, weakening its chances for a victory in a case that, while it centers around antitrust, also could produce a decision that greatly impacts amateurism.

But how long is the NCAA willing to wait? The Alston decision isn’t expected until June, if not later, coming dangerously close to what is becoming a D-Day for college sports: July 1. Eleven states have passed NIL laws, four of which take effect July 1: Mississippi, Florida, New Mexico and Alabama. Two more states have a bill awaiting a governor’s signature to become law and 18 more have introduced a bill this spring, as states hurry to one-up one another for recruiting purposes.

The states hurry, even if the NCAA doesn’t.  Or maybe that should be because the NCAA doesn’t.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, part of the NCAA’s NIL working group, says the group has met at least twice a month, spending the last four months continuously tinkering with what they term as an evolving NIL legislative proposal. SI obtained the original proposal last fall.

While the NCAA hopes Congress passes a federal bill to govern NIL, the organization expects at some point to remove its tabled item and pass the long-awaited measure.

“There are those advocating to pass it before July 1,” Bowlsby says. “There are those who say some of the chaos is required and let the state laws go into effect. It puts the institutions in a tough spot. They’re going to either comply with NCAA rules and against the state or comply with state law and against the NCAA.”

Gee, Bob, I wonder which course of action they’ll choose.

18 Comments

Filed under Political Wankery, Recruiting, The NCAA