Category Archives: The NCAA

Amateurism ain’t for amateurs.

You don’t get this without telling the hired help they’re only there for an education.

In a sense, that’s an education in and of itself.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Today, in amateurism

Apologies for missing this when it was announced a couple of weeks ago, but Judge Wilken approved the settlement agreement reached in the Austin case.

A federal judge in California on Friday orally granted final approval to a $208.7 million settlement that will compensate tens of thousands of college athletes who received traditional sports scholarships rather than a relatively new version that covers the full cost of attending school, one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys told USA TODAY Sports…

Speaking after a hearing that U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken held in Oakland, attorney Steve Berman said about 43,000 current and former athletes will get checks from the settlement, and they will do so without having to file a claim form. Although 11 major conferences are co-defendants, the NCAA has said all of the money in the settlement pool will come from the association’s financial reserves.

The math works out to a check of about $6000 to “scholarship athletes in Division I men’s basketball, Division I women’s basketball or the Football Bowl Subdivision whose award was limited by NCAA rules to basically tuition, room, board, books and fees”, and if you’re wondering…

Athletes who have remaining NCAA eligibility when they receive a check will be able to accept the money without any impact on their eligibility.

This, no doubt, will mean the end of college athletics as we know it.  I mean, Title IX, player jealousy and teenagers spending NCAA money on tats and video games can only lead to chaos, amirite?

The remarkable part of this is that Berman’s gotten his clients millions from the NCAA and still has his bigger gun cocked and ready to fire.

The deal wraps up the damages portion of a suit that, along with another case, is still seeking to upend the NCAA’s new compensation limits altogether…

“I’m thrilled with how this came out, and we’ve saved the best for the next trial,” Berman said, referring to the quests for an injunction against the compensation limits that currently is going through bids from the plaintiffs and the NCAA for a summary judgment ruling by Wilken.

More realistically, those efforts come down to the NCAA trying to get the cases dismissed and the plaintiffs trying to move the cases to trial. “One hundred percent we will get there,” Berman said.

I assume Stacey Osburn has no comment.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“It’s not about gaming, it’s about how you regulate it.”

If you haven’t been paying attention, the Supreme Court is currently pondering a case that could usher in legalized sports betting nationally.

This, of course, would lead to the apocalypse, at least if you believe the posture schools and the NCAA have taken against this possible scourge.

Then again, maybe not so much.

“I’m certainly interested in what that outcome might be,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “I haven’t had time to look at the information from the arguments, and we’ll await that decision. I don’t know that I predict any adjustments, per se, on our side, but I also wouldn’t assume there won’t be some level of attention to the realities that might come from that decision if it alters it for us. (We’re) attentive, and the decision could certainly have an impact on our culture broadly and that affects the sporting culture. But it’s difficult to sit here and effectively plan without having a decision.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Emmert said. “Obviously, if you wind up with sport gambling everywhere in the country then we’re not going to stop playing championships. We’ll play wherever we have to. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”

Translation:  if sports betting is legalized nationally, better we make money off it than somebody else.

Emmert may not be the brightest bulb in the lamp, but even he is aware of how much money is involved in those March Madness bracket pools.  Imagine what an officially sanctioned pool could rake in for the NCAA.  All for the greater academic good, natch.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Stacey Osburn has no comment.

One of the great mysteries of our time is why the NCAA lets Mark Emmert speak in public.  This is breathtakingly clueless:

If college athletics weren’t about selling the best recruits on the opportunity to go pro, the SEC would go out of business tomorrow.  Besides that, isn’t college about preparing yourself to go out in the working world?

When you’re so wrapped up in making sure you don’t give in even slightly to attacks on amateurism, this is the kind of gibberish that ensues.  If you’re Emmert, silence is better than denial.

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Filed under The NCAA

“… an attitude of business as usual.”

Good Lord, these two paragraphs from the NCAA’s COI on Ole Miss:

That second especially is something else.

It looks like Freeze got off relatively lightly because the NCAA believed his story that he didn’t know what was going on, but, jeez, the NCAA is laying out a case that Ole Miss has been cheating for 30+ years — through not one, but two COIs — on an uninterrupted basis!  All that cost the school is a few more scholarships, some lost conference revenue and one more year of bowl ban.  If that doesn’t convince you that the death penalty will never be imposed again, I don’t know what will.

I hope like hell somebody has the fortitude to lay into Greg Sankey about this at his next press conference.  I’m sure he’ll try to BS his way out of it, but he deserves to squirm.  A 30-year old trend of cheating doesn’t go unnoticed.  It just gets ignored.

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Filed under Freeze!, The NCAA

The bomb drops on Ole Miss.

Now you know why the school stuck with Matt Luke.

After five years, the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions finally issued a ruling in Ole Miss’s recruiting scandal on Friday morning.

The core penalties, per a source close to Ole Miss:

  • An additional bowl-ban year (2018).
  • Because of that total two-year bowl ban, NCAA rules state Ole Miss players are now free to transfer elsewhere without sitting out a season.  [Emphasis added.]
  • Probation running concurrently with current probation for a total of four years.
  • Financial penalties.
  • A total scholarship reduction of 13 over a period of years. That’s in addition to the 11 over four years that Ole Miss self-imposed, which already meant three or four fewer scholarship players per year.
  • Every coach named in the NCAA’s investigation has received a show-cause (essentially an NCAA blackball for a period of time). That doesn’t include new head coach Matt Luke, who wasn’t named. Former assistant David Saunders’ show-cause runs for eight years. Former staffer Barney Farrar faces five.

It’s open season on Ole Miss players and the future pipeline’s taken a pretty severe hit, too.

Welcome to irrelevancy, fellas.  You’re gonna be there for a while.

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Filed under Freeze!, The NCAA

Don’t look at amateurism as a plantation.

If you view it through the prism of Prohibition, it makes a lot more sense.

The FBI’s investigation into NCAA basketball has revealed what college players are really worth. We now know their true value: They are worth six-figure bribes. That tells you a lot. It tells you how desperate schools are to secure a five-star recruit. It tells you how eager agents and sneaker companies are to invest in them for the future. But the main thing it tells you is just how badly the players are being defrauded and cheated out of their fair open market value by their universities.

It’s a supreme irony: NCAA schools refuse to pay players openly, but then put a black-market value on them with the extremes to which they will go to get them in the door and keep them on the floor.

The middlemen are bootleggers who facilitate a market that is underground because of NCAA regulation.  The obscenity is that the people who push the regulation are the same people being served by the bootleggers.  And so they benefit from the fruits of a false economy created as a result of blocking the normal give and take of a free market.

So far, the FBI’s investigation has focused on underlings, assistants, wannabe agents, and one exec from Adidas. But these are merely the movers of the money, the bagmen, the middle men. The early indictments in the case have a basic misapprehension at their core: They portray the universities as bystanders or even victims of violations that “sullied the spirit of amateur athletics.”

In fact, the tops of universities are stocked with knowing participants, if not the very sources of the corruption. That’s where you’ll find athletic directors with seven-figure salaries and titles of “vice chancellor,” who signed the megadeals with sneaker companies, and the head coaches who built the backchannels and funnels through which cash flows.

Everybody gets paid more than they should, because student-athletes aren’t paid at all.  It’s an inherently corrupt arrangement.

The key to any meaningful collegiate sports reform is to do away with this fundamentally dishonest “spirit of amateurism,” which is the root of so many NCAA ills, and creates the black market in the first place. It’s nothing more than a fig leaf for pervasive corruption. Take away the incentives for bribery, kickbacks and money laundering. Open the market, and settle on a fair metric to compensate the revenue-producing athletes, with the help of a mediator such as Feinberg. But that of course won’t happen voluntarily, because it would mean NCAA athletic directors must agree to take less. A lot less.

Even if the feds manage to put a few of the middlemen away, it won’t really change anything, because the way the system is constructed, the black market incentives remain.  And the schools will still enable it.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA