Category Archives: The NCAA

One man’s potential for corruption is another man’s hypocrisy.

Those of you who are firmly convinced that student-athletes who take part in revenue generating sports at major universities are fairly compensated for their efforts with a scholarship, tell me something.  If the NCAA’s amateurism protocols expired today, do you think those kids would receive greater compensation tomorrow in a free market setting?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Tuesday morning buffet

Go get a plate and dig in.

  • Keith Marshall makes a funny about Bubba Watson.
  • It’s springtime, and you know what that means:  this year, the Florida offense is going to be good.
  • The SEC’s appeal of the NCAA’s interpretation of the rule permitting recruits to sign early multiple financial aid offers is being heard today.
  • A student task force at the University of Michigan found that Brady Hoke likely lied about a player who was alleged to have been involved in a sexual assault?  Whoa.  We’ll see if the rule about the coverup being a bigger problem than the original incident plays out in Ann Arbor.
  • Brice Ramsey, on his G-Day performance:  “I was picking up blitzes, making the right reads. I just need to put the ball on. I had a bad day throwing.”
  • ”In theory, it could give the private universities a recruiting advantage.”
  • John Pennington argues for a rule that would prevent SEC teams from signing kids who had been kicked out of other SEC programs for violations.  One rationale for that: “The fact that a booted player could come back to haunt a coach down the road might lead some to hang onto players a bit longer even if they’ve proven to be bad news.”  That’s never been a concern at Georgia, obviously.
  • And Seth Emerson says the NCAA can’t find a middle ground.  Wouldn’t it have to be looking for one first?

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, Look For The Union Label, Political Wankery, Recruiting, SEC Football, The NCAA

Their problem was they didn’t love the game enough.

I mean, it’s either that or these ladies were victims of a preemptive strike against unionization, right?

The circumstances of each departure also make it difficult for the three athletes to transfer and play immediately. The NCAA’s “run off” waiver requires that the athlete not have an opportunity to participate for reasons outside the athlete’s control. That would preclude Davis and Barger from getting the waiver. The waiver is also based on the opportunity to participate rather than the scholarship. Hvisdak’s scholarship was not renewed but she was offered a walk-on spot, which means she had an opportunity to participate. In cases where a new coach comes in and wants their own players, the least they can do is facilitate an easier transfer to another institution.

The system, working.

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“No one’s going to get a recruiting advantage over an egg-white omelet.”

The saddest thing about this WSJ article about a change in the rules for feeding student-athletes is the use of the word “may” in the header.  As in it’s not a slam dunk for the NCAA to reconsider the possibility that its current regime prevents kids from eating sufficiently throughout the month.

Why isn’t change a given? Well…

Why can’t schools give athletes three squares a day? Poorer athletic departments worry that doing so would burden them financially or lead to elaborate meals such as “pheasant under glass,” said Dave Ellis, a registered dietitian who worked for years with teams at Wisconsin and Nebraska.

True ‘dat.  Pheasant under glass is only for school presidents.

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One and done

In response to Stacey Osburn’s tender question – But do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? – has she noticed how much money Jordan Spieth’s made since he left Texas in the middle of his second year there to turn pro?  Too bad college football players don’t have the same choice available to them.

The NCAA’s problem isn’t that it’s a choice of love or money for the kids.  It’s that the NFL has a staggering love for money.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Stacey Osburn’s talking points are cheap.

If you’ve been disappointed by the NCAA’s consistent unwillingness to recognize the reality behind the recent NLRB ruling and the many antitrust complaints it’s in the process of defending, this isn’t likely to improve your spirits.

NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said it’s the association’s responsibility to “provide accurate and timely information on matters impacting college sports. Our members requested facts and data on pay-for-play because there was so much misinformation in the media, based in part on public statements from those who are advancing the union movement and those who have brought suit against the NCAA.”

So what kind of spin… oops, “facts and data” does Stacey have for us?

Well, there’s repetition of the irrelevant:

“We know we have work to do. But do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? That’s not the message I want to send.”

“Do we really want to signal to society and high school students that making money is the reason to come play a sport in college, as opposed to getting an education, which will benefit you for a lifetime? That’s not the message I want to send.”

I thought one of the main reasons you went to college was to enhance your earnings ability.  I wasn’t aware there was supposed to be a restriction on when you were allowed to start reaping the rewards of that enhancing – at least there isn’t for anyone in college who isn’t subject to the NCAA.

There’s love or money and nothing in between.

“The overwhelming majority of student-athletes play college sports as part of their educational experience and because they love their sport, not to be paid a salary.”

If only Stacey’s bosses, conference commissioners and coaches felt the same way.

A little mea culpa -

“Student-athletes should not have to worry about their scholarships being pulled if they are injured or ill.”

I’m sure you’ll get right on that.

And of course, a supporting cast providing a steady dose of denial of reality.  Dabo Swinney says, “We’ve got enough entitlement in this country as it is”, but proceeds to advocate giving kids a stipend.  (And since when is doing more to prevent concussion problems an entitlement?)  Mike Slive doesn’t appreciate anyone threatening to screw with the revenue stream he’s spent so much effort on generating.  Baylor’s athletic director – his school is private, by the way – commands the tide to roll back:  “In my view, student-athletes are not employees. They attend a university to earn a degree and participate in the sport they love.”  Larry Scott and Jim Delany believe in ongoing dialogue with student-athletes, not unionization, because meaningful dialogue with parties who have less power has always been a hallmark of Jim Delany’s management style.

I could go on, but, jeez, this is depressing.  There’s a historical precedent to what college athletics is facing in what MLB went through when Marvin Miller engineered the rise of the players’ union, and, along with a little help from Andy Messersmith’s agent, the end of the reserve clause, and it seems like the NCAA and the commissioners couldn’t care less about learning any lessons from that.  I can’t help but continue to feel that Emmert, Slive, Delany and all their cohorts think they’re a lot shrewder business people than they are.  And certainly the presidents and chancellors they work for aren’t nearly as shrewd as the lawyers who are fighting over the right to pick their bones.

This isn’t going to end well for some folks.  But, talking points!  Hey, that worked well for Baghdad Bob, right?

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Filed under Blowing Smoke, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

O’Bannon goes to trial.

Nobody expected Judge Wilken to grant either party’s summary judgment motions, which she didn’t.  What she did do, though, was kneecap much of the NCAA’s position.  Consider the following:

  • “… the First Amendment does not guarantee media organizations unlimited rights to broadcast entire college football and basketball games, a defense used by the NCAA to justify not paying players for use of their names, images and likenesses.”
  • Wilken ruled that the NCAA cannot argue that the limits enable increased support for women’s sports and less prominent men’s sports, because it “could mandate that Division I schools and conferences redirect a greater portion of the licensing revenue generated by football and basketball to these other sports. … The NCAA has not explained why it could not adopt more stringent revenue-sharing rules.”
  • The NCAA had stated that not paying players promotes the integration of education and athletics because it keeps athletes from being treated differently from other students. Wilken rejected a set of statements from university and conference leaders supporting that argument and said the NCAA must show evidence showing the restriction “actually contributes to the integration of education and athletics.”
  • In another argument, the NCAA had said not paying players promotes competitive balance between schools. Wilken wrote that the NCAA presented “some evidence” but that to prevail at trial on that argument, the NCAA “will have to present evidence that the (limit) promotes a level of competitive balance that (1) contributes to consumer demand and (2) could not be achieved through less restrictive means.”

All told, that’s pretty brutal.  As plaintiffs’ lead counsel put it, “The opinion, the way we read it, does not leave a lot of credence to amateurism and shows it’s going to be their burden to establish it at trial…”  The judge tossed the NCAA’s First Amendment and Title IX defenses, which means it’s now going to have to convince a jury of its peers (heh) that somehow it’s okay for schools to pull in billions from commercial marketing of competitive sports while preventing athletes from profiting off their names and likenesses.  Maybe the NCAA can screen Chariots of Fire for the jury.

Oh, and that’s not all.  It may be time for ESPN and its brethren to get a little nervous, too.

“Whether Division I student-athletes hold any ownership rights in their athletic performances does not depend on the scope of broadcasters’ First Amendment rights but, rather, on whether the student-athletes themselves validly transferred their rights of publicity to another party,” Wilken wrote. “Because the record does not demonstrate that all Division I student-athletes validly transferred all of these rights, the First Amendment does not preclude student-athletes from asserting rights of publicity in live broadcasts or re-broadcasts of entire games. Accordingly, the First Amendment does not preclude the existence of a market for group licenses to use student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses in those broadcasts.”

If not for NCAA rules, college athletes “would have an economic interest in being able to sell group licenses for the rights to broadcast their games,” she wrote. Added Wilken: The First Amendment “would not empower broadcasters to undermine the student-athletes’ economic interests” by televising games without group licenses.

In other words, every existing broadcast deal out there, including those conference network partnerships, may be a nullity, because nobody bothered to license the student-athletes’ publicity rights.  Chaos, baby!

If I’m one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, I’m having a real hard time suppressing my glee today.  Donald Remy, however, sees no reason to panic.

In a statement, NCAA chief legal officer Donald Remy said the association disagrees with the ruling that the NCAA cannot justify restraint due to women’s sports and other men’s sports.

“We have confidence in the legal merits of our case and look forward to presenting it at trial,” Remy said. “In the meantime, we are evaluating our legal options with respect to the decision.”

What he should see is a reason to tell Mark Emmert to settle, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on that.  Trial starts June 9.

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Friday morning buffet

Pre-G-Day snack time…

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Filed under College Football, Gators, Gators..., Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

The NCAA’s Perfectly Fair Rules

I’m just a little disappointed The Daily Show folks couldn’t reach Stacey Osburn.  After all, she’s a self-professed “pop culture nut”.

Maybe Colbert can snag an interview with Mark Emmert.

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

UPDATE:  “Yes, the love of the sport,” Stewart said.

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The NBA’s “three-way conversation”

How badly does professional basketball want to keep early entries out?  Badly enough to consider bribing subsidizing student-athlete compensation.

I do believe people are starting to freak out a little over unionization and the NCAA’s perceived incompetence.  Maybe that was Emmert’s plan all along.  Crazy like a fox!

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Look For The Union Label, The NCAA