Category Archives: The NCAA

Adventures in amateurism: if only the players would behave more like fans

Really, this is a perfect reaction to Nigel Hayes.  If you’re someone who thinks every college player is just like them, that is.

“For, me, personally, I think it’s totally bandwagonning,” Escamilla said of Hayes. “I think if he really thought this through, I think he would’ve done it (earlier). Everybody knows it’s been going on for, what, two, three years now?

“I think, personally, I feel it’s going to take away the focus of the team. I just think he should be worried about the season, and everything else tied to the season. If something happened to his family, I could kind of relate. But they should focus on the season at hand.”

Yes, yes, everyone knows these kids can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.  And obviously, other Wisconsin players will lose their focus because their star player has an opinion that fans don’t share.

Why can’t these players just shut up and do their damned job?


Filed under The NCAA

You want violations? Ole Miss will give you violations.

How bad are the NCAA compliance issues plaguing Ole Miss?  This bad:

In order to resolve the women’s track and women’s basketball violations efficiently, the panel separated the case earlier this year when new potential allegations came to light in the football program, which required further investigation. The panel did not and will not review any information related to the football program until the university and enforcement staff have completed the investigation. The NCAA will not comment further on the status of the ongoing investigation.

In other words, there’s so much shit happening in Oxford, the NCAA had to split it into two separate investigations, because there was too much for them to handle in just one.

You know, maybe this is a fiendishly clever plot by the Rebels — have so much going on in minor programs that the NCAA never has the time to deal with football.  Brilliant!


Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

‘If you want me, then sign me.’

Nick Saban ain’t happy about the proposed early signing periods.  Nope, not one bit.

On Wednesday the NCAA Division I Council proposed two early signing periods for football, with the first in late June and the second in mid-December.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was quick to voice his opinion Wednesday evening after practice.

“I am absolutely, positively against any kind of early signing date, especially a June signing date before a guy plays his senior year,” Saban said in a news conference. “If we want to have an early signing date after the season, I would be more for that. We’ve moved the recruiting calendar forward, which creates a lot of issues and problems when it comes to evaluations, not only of a player but of his character and his academic status.”

I’m not sure that having sufficient time for character evaluation is a place you should be going, brother.  You had plenty of that to assess Jonathan Taylor’s character, but couldn’t even find the time to speak with folks like the district attorney who handled Taylor’s case… or Mark Richt, for that matter.  But I digress.

Because that’s not really what’s got Saban’s ass chapped here.

“From a high school coach’s standpoint, what is really the guy’s motivation to play and really work hard to get better to play for his team in his senior year?”

Uh, no, that’s not it either, Nick.  Try again.

Saban said the Crimson Tide may not have signed freshman tailback Joshua Jacobs had an early signing period been in place last year. Jacobs, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder from Tulsa, Okla., played in only six games as a junior at McClain High School due to injury but blossomed as a senior, rushing for 2,704 yards and an eye-popping 15.1 yards per carry.

Jacobs rushed 16 times for 100 yards in last Saturday’s 34-6 win over Kentucky.

“We probably would have been full, and that is what I am talking about,” Saban said. “We would probably make some academic, character and maybe evaluation mistakes, because you aren’t even seeing a guy play during his senior season.

Ah, now we’re getting warmer.  Can’t let those late bloomers fall through the cracks; those missed opportunities can be real killers, amirite?  But let’s face it, people — what school has better resources than Alabama to evaluate players, even early on?

So, it still feels like we’re missing something else here.  What could it be?

The SEC has been one of the most vocal opponents of an early signing period in the past, but a conference coach admitted he has come around to the idea and says he thinks it will even benefit the recruits.

“I love the idea now,” he said. “I think it’ll finally make schools think twice about offering kids early with no plan of taking their commitment. If they really want them, they’re going to have to sign them now. That’ll help a recruit truly tell if they’re wanted by that school… “

Congratulations, Holmes, you’ve cracked the case!  Saban wouldn’t be able to bookmark recruits with things like contingent offers or offers made in a kid’s sophomore season.  Instead, he’d have to spend time convincing rising seniors not to commit elsewhere early, so that he would have the full opportunity to decide whether it’s worth extending a binding offer.  Even for Alabama, that’s a tougher sell.

Figure on plenty more angst to come on how early signing periods are bad for the kids.  After all, that’s how these guys roll.


Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, The NCAA

“In some ways, the public sees NCAA enforcement as a paper tiger…”

So, Jim Delany and others, fretting about NCAA enforcement, have come up with a whole raft of ideas to put more bite with the bark, so to speak, but the schools don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about his proposals.  As Jon Solomon puts it,

Here’s the reality about NCAA investigations and penalties: Every school wants this thankless job to happen — until the finger gets pointed at them.

So Big Jim is frustrated nobody’s embracing his genius.

If I may be so bold as to offer a solution to his problem:  name Greg McGarity as college football’s director of NCAA compliance.  He’ll make sure every school falls all over itself the minute an investigator comes knocking.  Problem solved!  Not to mention it would have the added benefit of letting Georgia operate on a level playing field.  A true win-win…


Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

When in doubt, do it for the children.

The NCAA’s  Division I Council has introduced a few new proposals for D1 to consider, among them:

  • The proposal would make accommodations for two, 72-hour early signing periods beginning on the last Wednesday in June and in mid-December.
  • Increasing the limit on the number of assistant coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision from nine to 10 is another.

With regard to the latter, I just love the justification.

FBS programs can have a maximum of 85 players who receive grants-in-aid. Additionally, most programs have walk-on players. The Football Oversight Committee felt the addition of another coaching staff member will benefit football players.

“There was unanimity around the table on the addition of a 10th assistant coach being allowed (in FBS),” Bowlsby said. “We feel it is appropriate from a student-athlete welfare standpoint. The ratio of coaches to student-athlete is much higher in football than other sports, and this helps address that.”

Thank Gawd.  You know how football players all over America have been complaining about that.


Filed under The NCAA

“Isaiah went and fought so that organizations like the NCAA can exist…”

And the NCAA deeply appreciates your service, son.


Filed under The NCAA

Does O’Bannon leave a legacy?

The New York Times’ Joe Nocera thinks so, in two ways.

As the first case involving athletes fighting the N.C.A.A. to gain any traction in court, O’Bannon reaped an enormous amount of publicity. (It didn’t hurt that the lead plaintiff was a high-profile former N.C.A.A. champion who was eloquent and highly credible.) Reporters and others began to take a closer look at the N.C.A.A.’s rules and discovered what a small group of critics had been saying for years: Many of the rules were unfair, trivial and, in some cases, idiotic.

This increased scrutiny put the college sports establishment on the defensive. And it began to make changes, at least on the margins, to improve the lot of college athletes…

With regard to those changes, I don’t think there’s any question about the timing there, just about whether it’s a matter of correlation, which the NCAA would argue, or causation, which the plaintiffs (and, to be honest, I) would argue.  It’s too convenient to insist that the schools would have proceeded exactly as they have over the past three years without the pressure from this case and the Northwestern unionization ruling.

Finally, the fact that the N.C.A.A. has been labeled an antitrust violator, thanks to O’Bannon, is no small thing. That leads to the second question: What comes now?

The answer is that two more cases, which are both being heard by Judge Wilken, are also aimed at overturning the N.C.A.A.’s amateurism rules. One is known as the Jenkins case; it argues that the N.C.A.A.’s compensation limits have no justification under antitrust law. The other is the Alston case, which seeks damages for all the years in which athletes weren’t compensated for the full cost of attendance, even though they were entitled to it, according to the O’Bannon ruling.

The fact that the N.C.A.A. has been branded an antitrust violator is hugely advantageous to the plaintiffs. The N.C.A.A. knows it, too, which is why it wanted the Supreme Court to take the O’Bannon case: in the hope that the court would overturn that antitrust label.

“I’ve always thought the O’Bannon result was more advantageous to us than it was to them,” Jeffrey Kessler, the lead lawyer in the Jenkins case, said on Monday. “Ultimately, unless the N.C.A.A. gets an antitrust exemption, competition is going to win out.”

In other words, in the absence of Congress stepping in and giving the schools an exemption, the sharks are still in the water.  It’s also worth noting that with the Supreme Court declining to step in, only cases brought in the Ninth Circuit have a controlling appellate ruling.  So there’s still plenty of fighting left to do.  Will the NCAA continue to gird up and spend big money on lawyers and settlements, or will it decide to cut its losses and negotiate a sensible framework for all concerned?

Yeah, that was a rhetorical question.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA