Category Archives: See You In Court

We’ll always have Mississippi.

You may have forgotten about this, but those people haven’t.

Mullen and Stricklin?  Do tell.

With any luck, this’ll go on for years.

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Filed under SEC Football, See You In Court, The NCAA

Thursday morning buffet

The chafing dishes are set out and ready to go.

  • Here’s a lawsuit I’ve been waiting to see drop.  Adding the NCAA is a nice touch.
  • The AFCA wants the targeting rules changed to allow for two levels of penalties.  On its face, it sounds sensible, but you can just see that next can of worms waiting to be opened.
  • Malzahn’s “right hand man” jumps off the Gus Bus for… Georgia Tech.
  • Les Miles asks for a change to the recruiting rules after he sees the Kansas roster he inherited.
  • This really seems like the least they could do.
  • And this continues to be the name I hear most frequently as the candidate to be Mel Tucker’s successor, although it has to be said that Kirby seems to be in no hurry on that front.
  • Now they tell us.
  • “If a shoe company wanted to pay one of University of Washington’s running backs $50,000 to appear in a television commercial, House Bill 1084 would permit that.”

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Filed under Academics? Academics., Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, College Football, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, Recruiting, See You In Court, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA, Wit And Wisdom From The Hat

Spreading the wealth

Perhaps the news that the Pac-12 is exploring the opportunity of allowing a private equity investor to buy a stake in the conference should cause me to take these college football program valuation stories that crop up in Forbes and the Wall Street Journal more seriously.

Brewer’s study calculates what a college team would be worth on the open market if it could be bought and sold like a professional sports franchise. Brewer analyzes each program’s revenues and expenses along with cash-flow adjustments, risk assessments and growth projections.

The problem with that approach is that the value of a college football team is based in part on its business model, which incorporates amateurism, and that is something that is unlikely to translate seamlessly on the open market.

Then again, those times may be close to a-changin’.

While tens of millions of college sports fans watch the action between Alabama and Clemson unfold Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif., college sports power brokers, and their lawyers, will be monitoring developments about 40 miles away in Oakland where, any day over the next few weeks, a federal judge could issue a ruling upending the economy of major college sports, clearing the way for more money to make its way to athletes…

In a statement, Donald Remy, the NCAA’s chief legal officer, denounced the athletes’ demands, and asserted they would sap money from sports subsidized by football and basketball.

“All of the Clemson and Alabama student-athletes taking the field in the College Football Playoff championship game are just that: students. However, the plaintiffs would rather see a world in which paid professionals would instead take the field,” said Remy, who earned $933,000 in 2017, the most recent year the NCAA’s nonprofit IRS filing is available.

“Replacing scholarships with salaries would professionalize college sports, de-emphasize academics and reduce future opportunities for incoming student-athletes,” Remy said.  [Emphasis added.]

It’s okay to be a professional as long as you don’t step on the field, eh, Donald?

At the bench trial late last year, lawyers for the NCAA and the conferences essentially made two major arguments: (1) Droves of fans would stop watching college football and basketball if they knew the players were getting paid, and (2) Allowing pay would “drive a wedge” between college athletes and their classmates, hurting “integration,” an essential goal of college sports.

Those are tough sells in this day and age.  With regard to the second argument,

To counter the integration argument, the lawyers for the athletes put their clients on the stand, where they testified the feared “wedge” between them and their classmates already exists, created by demanding practice schedules, frequent travel, and high-end workout facilities and dormitories built exclusively for athletes.

Former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston testified he was told by academic advisors to take only easy classes that met in the mornings, so he’d maintain eligibility and not miss practice, and he spent his little down time with other athletes.

“We never built relationships with other people,” Alston testified.

And as for the first,

Last March, meanwhile, provided what could be considered a real-world experiment on how college sports fans’ behavior might change when they learn players are getting paid for their talents.

As an ongoing Justice Department investigation roiled college basketball with revelations that Adidas officials arranged bribes to players and families to get them to attend preferred schools, CBS reported ratings for the first full weekend of the men’s tournament: They were up by 11 percent.

Never mind that players are already getting paid with COA stipends, that student-athletes aren’t disqualified if they receive payment from their countries’ Olympic committees for winning medals and that the NCAA recognizes that a student-athlete who turns pro in one sport retains his or her amateur status in another.  The irony here is that the schools and the NCAA count on our continued passion for consuming sports as the basis for ever increasing revenue streams from ticket sales and broadcast deals, no matter what they do about conference realignment, scheduling and playoff expansion, while pretending that it’s fragile enough to be unable to withstand more dollars in student-athletes’ pockets.

If you’re looking for the real driver behind player compensation, you don’t need to go any farther than your mirror.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

Another good day for the NCAA

Hoo, boy.  From the Alston case today,

Obviously she undervalues the worth of a college scholarship, amirite, amateurism romantics?

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UPDATE:  The NCAA’s attorney strenuously objects.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“It’s harder than ever to defend [the current NCAA model]…”

The NCAA may have its head stuck firmly up its ass when it comes to amateurism, but Dennis Dodd reports that the conferences are already gaming out scenarios in the wake of losing Alston vs. NCAA.

Privately, though, there seems to be a general a feeling the plaintiffs will win, setting off alarms with which the NCAA is familiar. Alston is not the first legal challenge to the NCAA’s hide-bound amateurism model. But the cumulative effect of all those court cases may be a chipping away of the NCAA’s DNA. Without that one-of-a-kind amateurism model that exists nowhere else in the world, critics have wondered whether the NCAA would have any remaining worth.

Reacting to an Alston win, conferences at least have to consider what sort of compensation they would offer. That’s what makes Alston unique. Those plaintiffs have found their best chances of winning are to endorse a model that leaves compensation up to the conferences.

In significant issues like this, conferences don’t agree on much of anything.

Remember, the plaintiff in Alston doesn’t seek relief mandating that conferences have to compensate athletes.  It simply asks the court to prohibit the NCAA from restricting the conferences from compensating athletes.  If that becomes the status quo, every conference would be free to set whatever limits it prefers.  (Ironically, that was the status quo prior to 1956.)

If you think the conferences are money-chasing whores now, wait ’til you see what happens if they have to start sharing the wealth with the hired help.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Today, in empty threats

If you didn’t hear, Brett McMurphy returned to the Ohio State beat, this time with a messy story that, at its heart, is about Zach Smith being Zach Smith, i.e., an asshole.  In response, you could hear the howling from Columbus half a continent away.

But the topper was this:

Talk about your “go ahead and make my day, punk” moment there.  I’m sure there’s nothing McMurphy would like more than to have Urban Meyer undergo discovery, where he’d have to answer questions about Zach Smith (among other things) under oath.  Yeah, like that’s ever gonna happen.

I imagine this will be a topic Corch will try to ignore at his next presser.  Meanwhile, Zach Smith is the gift that keeps giving.

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Filed under See You In Court, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

When you can’t show cause for your show cause

Not a good day for the NCAA.

One of the NCAA’s go-to sanctions is no longer legal in California.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller issued a final decision Tuesday finding the “show-cause” penalty the NCAA issued against former USC assistant football coach Todd McNair violated state law.

Shaller’s eight-page decision voided the show-cause provision of NCAA bylaws because it constituted an “unlawful restraint” on McNair’s pursuing a lawful profession.

“McNair’s ability to practice his profession as a college football coach has been restricted, if not preempted, not only in Los Angeles, but in every state in the country,” Shaller wrote.

The judge added that the decision would “allow NCAA and member schools to conform their conduct to the law and prevent future litigation.”

Gotta love a jurist with a sense of humor.  Or, more accurately, one who combines a sense of humor with a first-rate bullshit detector.

Last month, the NCAA filed a declaration from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott warning that the judge’s tentative decision, if made final, could threaten the NCAA membership of all four of the conference’s California schools.

“If California law prevents institutions in that state from honoring such commitments, it is hard to see how the Pac-12’s Member Universities in California could continue to meet the requirements of NCAA membership,” Scott wrote.

The NCAA also filed a declaration from Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell expressing concern that conference schools could no longer rely on the NCAA’s disciplinary mechanisms if the show-cause penalty wasn’t legal.

Shaller dismissed those concerns in a separate filing Tuesday.

“The opinions of these two witnesses are completely speculative and irrelevant to the issue …” Shaller wrote. “The proposed testimony of Scott and Farrell is deemed inadmissible and is not considered.”

But Larry Scott’s a genius! Just look at the size of his paycheck.

Oh, let the sputtering in Indianapolis commence.

In a statement, the NCAA said: “The NCAA disagrees with the court’s ruling, which is wrong as a matter of law and does not impact Todd McNair’s show-cause order that expired more than six years ago. We will explore all avenues for relief to ensure that NCAA member schools in California can continue to abide by the same rules as the rest of the NCAA’s membership.”

Good luck with that, fellas.  In the meantime, Hugh Freeze thinks he may have found his personal land of opportunity.

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