Category Archives: The NCAA

If it’s the offseason…

… then it must be time for the NCAA to revisit the targeting rule.

College football targeting penalties may become more lenient through a proposed rule change that could result in fewer player ejections.

As targeting ejections have doubled over three years, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is looking at changing the replay standards so a targeting ejection only occurs if the penalty is confirmed. Currently, if replay doesn’t have enough evidence to confirm targeting but can’t rule it’s not targeting, the call on the field stands and the player gets ejected.

NCAA associate director Ty Halpin, the liaison for the rules committee, said ejecting a player is “a pretty expensive deal” if targeting isn’t certain. Halpin said the “vast majority” of targeting flags thrown on the field should be confirmed, but there’s a fairness issue to consider for players.

“We still want to the official to throw the flag there,” Halpin said. “But if replay says there’s a little bit of contact on the shoulder and it’s more because the player adjusted and it wasn’t a dangerous attempt by the player delivering the contact, then maybe that player deserves to stay in the game. It’s a reasonable thing to go with.”

Whatever, man.  Just don’t pretend you won’t be doing more soul searching a year from now, no matter how you tweak things.

Of course, if you’re talking about changing penalty rules, you’ve got to bring our old friend Rogers Redding into the discussion.  He’s certainly on top of things.

National officiating coordinator Rogers Redding said he is not alarmed by more targeting penalties. He attributed the rise to officials becoming more comfortable making the call, a less narrow definition of targeting, and new players coming in each year who aren’t accustomed to the penalty.

This is fine, in other words.  And why shouldn’t it be?

The SEC had the most targeting ejections overall (26) and per game (0.27) and the fewest calls overturned among the Power Five. “I personally think it’s changing player behavior,” SEC officiating coordinator Steve Shaw said.

The American Athletic Conference, which will use collaborative replay for the first time in 2017, had the fewest targeting penalties per game (0.1). The AAC was the only conference with more targeting calls overturned by replay than upheld.

Why is there such a discrepancy by conference in targeting penalties?

“I’ve thought about this a lot,” Redding said. “We do see different styles of play in different conferences. Some are more wide open than others. I think in conferences that are dominated by teams that run wide-open spread, faster-pace offense, you’re more likely to see more plays run in a game. If there’s more plays run, there’s more opportunities for fouls. That may be one thing. We haven’t analyzed it carefully.”

Shit, why should you?  It’s only your job.

Of course, given that it’s Redding saying that, you know there’s a punchline, and Jon Solomon delivers it.

That theory doesn’t appear to hold up. Offenses in the Big 12 and the AAC ran the most plays per game in 2016, yet those leagues finished in the bottom three with the Mountain West for targeting penalties per game.

Maybe the problem isn’t the rules, but the morons paid to enforce them.  Just sayin’, NCAA.

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Filed under The NCAA

The NCAA, always about the student-athlete

Ah, the nobility.

Though the NCAA has no subpoena power to compel people outside of its jurisdiction to help investigations, coaches and athletes are bound by rule to speak with the enforcement staff and risk significant penalties for not telling the truth. Duncan said offering immunity is particularly helpful with athletes who might be fearful that they would incriminate themselves in violations.

“Our desire is never to focus on student-athlete culpability,” Duncan said. “In enforcement, our broader desire is to zero in and focus on the adult culpability, the grown-ups who are involved in violations, and one way to substantiate information or to get refuting information is to talk to the student-athletes or prospective student-athletes, particularly in our focus areas of recruiting and academic integrity.

“It is effective to help encourage that young man or young woman to cooperate with us if he or she knows they’ll be eligible to play and won’t be cited for a violation of the infractions process.”

Tell that to AJ Green, shithead.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

‘You’re doing it again. Don’t do it.’

You have to read this Dennis Dodd interview with North Carolina AD Bubba Cunningham about the ongoing NCAA investigation into the academic shenanigans there in its entirety to get the true flavor of its craziness, but the gist of it is expressed in one Slick Willie-esque paragraph.

Revealing what seems to be North Carolina’s defense in the case, Cunningham told CBS Sports, “Is this academic fraud? Yes, it is by a normal person’s standards. But by the NCAA definition [it is not].”

The NCAA, of which North Carolina is a proud, voting member last time I checked, isn’t normal.  That’s some defense you got there, Bubba.

The whole thing is nuts.

6 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

What if the NCAA sees a drawn out investigation as a feature, not a bug?

A couple of posts at Red Cup Rebellion caught my eye this morning.

This one charts the hit Freeze took with this year’s recruiting class, while this one sounds a bit wistful about Ole Miss’ predicament.

Yea, the NCAA situation hurt Ole Miss this recruiting cycle. A couple of hours after piecing together the country’s No. 30 overall class on National Signing Day, Hugh Freeze himself referred to 2017 as “a penalty” and griped about other schools using the ongoing investigation for negative recruiting.

It was a decent class considering the limitations, but the reality is that the Rebels can’t have another like it and continue to compete with the top of the SEC (this year’s class ranked 12th in the conference). Ole Miss needs a bounce-back cycle in 2018.

Whether or not the NCAA will break camp by next Signing Day is anyone’s guess, though it’s hard to believe they can drag this thing out for another full year.

It’s the NCAA, sunshine.  I wouldn’t be too sure about anything, when it comes to the NCAA.

And that’s the thing.  We all know in an age of enormous conference television contracts, no program is ever going to get slammed with the death penalty again.  But slow playing an investigation so that a program’s recruiting suffers over a period of a few years while the sword of Damocles dangles overhead?  Yeah, I can see that.  If you think about it, that’s a pretty effective penalty in its own way.

The only thing I’m not sure of is if the NCAA is actually that clever.  If it is, though, that’s something an overly aggressive head coach might have to factor into his approach on the recruiting trail.  Assuming there’s a next time, of course.

27 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Amateurs. What are you gonna do?

In a classic late Friday afternoon news dump move, the NCAA announced it settled the Alston case.

Thousands of college athletes who received traditional sports scholarships rather than a new version that covers the full cost of attending school will be compensated for the difference under a $208.7 million settlement reached Friday night between the NCAA and plaintiffs in a presumptive class-action antitrust lawsuit against the association and 11 major conferences.

The deal, which must be approved by a federal judge, would be the second-largest legal settlement in the NCAA’s history. Similar litigation in a case led by Stanford football football player Jason White ended in 2008 with an agreement worth just under $230 million.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers sound pretty darn happy.  And why shouldn’t they be?

“We’re very pleased that we could get a 100% settlement for these kids,” Steve Berman, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s very unusual to get 100% in a settlement.”

The NCAA would have you believe it paid 100 cents on the dollar because it’s all about helping the kids.

“The agreement maintains cost of attendance as an appropriate dividing line between collegiate and professional sports,” the NCAA said in a statement. “In fact, the NCAA and conferences only settled this case because the terms are consistent with Division I financial aid rules, which allow athletics-based aid up to the full cost of obtaining a college education. Whenever possible and appropriate, the NCAA prefers to provide benefits to student-athletes rather than incur the ongoing cost of lawyers and legal processes.”

If only it were possible and appropriate a few years ago.

Of course that’s a load of crap.  The real reason was the NCAA stood to lose a lot more than 100% of the claimed damages.

While the settlement (if approved) will require the NCAA to pay $208.7 million, it will not require the NCAA to admit any wrongdoing. This is not surprising. A settlement is not an admission of guilt. It is a contract where the defendant and plaintiff agree on an arrangement that both find preferable to continuing the litigation. It is possible, if not likely, that NCAA attorneys were confident they would have ultimately prevailed in a trial against Alston and other players. But any such confidence would have come with a major risk—the risk of losing. Along those lines, we know it is worth at least $208.7 million for the NCAA to terminate this litigation, otherwise the NCAA would not have agreed to the terms of this settlement.

So what does the NCAA gain from a settlement that, if approved would require the NCAA to pay such a hefty fee? Perhaps most important, the NCAA eliminates the possibility of the “worst case” scenario occurring: losing the case, having to pay much more than $208.7 million and being forced to radically change its governing rules. The NCAA also cuts off any further obligations to share evidence or partake in depositions that might reveal damaging information about the NCAA and its officials.

The NCAA’s done a lot of agreeing recently in antitrust cases, more than $300 million’s worth in just the last three years alone.  And for all its brave talk that it will “continue to vigorously oppose the remaining portion of the lawsuit seeking pay for play”, the more it settles these, the more the lawyers in the outstanding litigation — which includes Alston, by the way, as those plaintiffs are seeking an injunction that would nullify the current limits — smell blood.  Jeffrey Kessler is still out there and he’s not going away.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Eh, what’s the worst that could happen?

You can trust Hugh Freeze, son.

Murchison said he was most concerned about the ongoing, and seemingly never-ending, NCAA investigation into the Ole Miss football program. Murchison was satisfied with the answers provided by Rebel head coach Hugh Freeze.

“Coach Freeze explained the investigation to me. He explained it well enough that I know to be smart about this decision,” he said. “Just what would be the worst that would happen. The worst thing would probably be a bowl ban, and it’s not likely to happen. That’s the only thing I had a question about, and they answered it. It was all right.”

I mean, if there’s anybody in America who’s had his finger on the NCAA’s pulse, it’s Hugh Freeze, amirite?

15 Comments

Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Moar wussification coming

For safety reasons, the NCAA Sport Science Institute has recommended eliminating the popular two-a-day preseason practices and reducing contact at all practices, including limiting full contact to once a week during the season.

No doubt the Bear is turning over in his grave about now.

Here are the details:

  • In-season practices: Allow three days per week of non-contact/minimal contact, one day of live contact/tackling, and one day of live contact/thud. Currently, the recommendation is no more than two live contact/tackling days. Live contact means tackling to the ground and/or full-speed blocking. Non-contact/minimal contact practices don’t involve tackling, thud (in which players hit but don’t take each other to the ground), or full-speed blocking.
  • Preseason practices: Allow up to three days of live contact per week (tackling or thud) and three non-contact/minimal contact practices per week. One day must be no practice. A non-contact/minimal contact practice must follow a scrimmage.
  • Postseason practices: If there’s two weeks or less between the final regular-season game/conference championship game and the bowl game, in-season practice recommendations should remain in place. If there’s more than two weeks, then up to three days per week may be live contact and three days of non-contact/minimal contact.
  • Spring practices: Eight of the 15 allowable practices may involve live contact, including three that can be scrimmages. Live contact should be limited to two practices per week and not on consecutive days.

There is a caveat.

Of course, these changes are just recommendations. Even if the NCAA writes these guidelines into legislation, “you can choose to do what you want,” Hainline acknowledged. “But culturally, to ignore this public document that has such widespread endorsement, I don’t think it makes any sense from any point of view that you can point to.”

Especially if you don’t want to get your ass sued off.

16 Comments

Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA