Category Archives: The NCAA

Your Honor, we’d like to dismiss all charges.

You will be pleased to know that life with the Tunsils is heading back to normal, or at least what passes for normal.

Domestic violence charges against both Ole Miss left tackle Laremy Tunsil and his stepfather are likely to be dropped on Monday.

Tunsil’s attorney, Steven Farese, told The Clarion-Ledger on Friday that both attorneys mutually agreed to have their clients sign dismissal forms earlier in the week. Those forms are currently with the Lafayette County Justice Court’s clerk, officials said, and will be reviewed to be signed by Judge Johnny McLarty on Monday.

Farese said he sees no reason why the matter will not be settled then.

Matthew Wilson, the attorney representing Tunsil’s stepfather, Lindsey Miller, confirmed that both parties agreed to drop the charges.

The motivational stone for kissing and making up should be pretty obvious. Dude’s gotta play so dude can rake after this season.

Of course, that leaves the rock that Miller turned over when he was pissed off at the golden goose.  That’s why there was this on the record moment during the hearing which was completely irrelevant to the matter being heard by the court:

Justice Court Judge Mickey Avent dismissed a protective order Miller levied against Tunsil during the case’s only court hearing on July 14, which also presented Farese with an opportunity to combat Miller’s claims that Tunsil accepted a ride from an agent the night of the fight, which would be an NCAA violation.

Farese admitted there was an agent present, but said Tunsil left in a rental car driven by a friend named “Zo,” who flew from South Carolina to Memphis and rented the car to drive to Oxford.

Before you roll your eyes over this, look on the bright side.  If Tunsil had signed with Georgia, you can bet the NCAA would be all over Zo’s ass right now, Tunsil would be preemptively suspended, McGarity would be figuring out the necessary level of NCAA groveling the school would need to do and we’d be fretting about how many games the offensive line would be in turmoil waiting for Tunsil’s return. ‘Cause that’s how the Georgia Way rolls, peeps.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, The NCAA

The NCAA gets its stay.

And, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.

An appellate court granted a stay on Friday of a federal judge’s ruling last year that N.C.A.A. rules preventing athletes from making money from college sports broadcasts and video games violated antitrust law.

The stay, in the so-called O’Bannon case, is at least a temporary reprieve for the N.C.A.A. and its decades-old rules barring payments to athletes. Without it, the association would have faced a new reality on Saturday in which colleges theoretically could have offered recruits unregulated money, or the association could have set a cap on such compensation.

There is no timetable for a ruling from the appellate court, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, but the judges specifically noted that the stay was not an indication of how they might ultimately decide the case.

Eh, maybe not, but it’s a decent indication that Judge Wilken’s ruling may not stand in its entirety.

Michael Hausfeld, a lawyer representing a class of current and former basketball and football players against the N.C.A.A. and its member institutions, had hoped for a different outcome, one that would have allowed colleges to compensate players immediately.

“I’m disappointed,” he said. “I would have liked to see a decision. Now we’ll wait some more.”

The sides argued the case in March in front of the Ninth Circuit, with the N.C.A.A. contending that a ruling for the players would professionalize its amateur athletes and hurt its business model. The association requested the stay this month.

“It’s hard to imagine a situation where they grant the stay and then affirm the ruling,” Hausfeld said in a recent interview, although on Friday he added, “A decision is still coming, and this is not the end.”

Indeed, the stay could mean the court is trying to reach consensus or work through complicated issues.

“If anything, the stay is a recognition of the complexity of the case and unscrambling the egg if the schools are allowed to offer the money,” said Gabe Feldman, the director of the sports law program at the Tulane University Law School.

The odds on this case going to the Supreme Court have become a lot more likely.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Your O’Bannon update

At the New York Times, you’ll find a nice summary of where things stand with just a couple of days to go before the expiration of Judge Wilken’s delay in the order going into effect.

One thing worth reiterating is this:

After the three-week trial last summer in Oakland, Calif., Wilken found that the N.C.A.A.’s rules were illegal. This does not mean universities must share licensing money with players, only that the N.C.A.A. cannot prevent them from doing so.

If the appeals court doesn’t grant the stay the NCAA seeks, I figure Auburn will be out of the gate on this before the weekend is over.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

Dan Mullen has an idea.

Instead of Jim Delany’s blanket ineligibility proposal for incoming freshmen student-athletes, the Mississippi State coach offers something more nuanced to help kids adjust:  Any player above the NCAA’s new core grade-point-average requirement should get five years of eligibility instead of the standard four.

As he explains it, here’s what you’d get with that.

“You might take a freshman and they are being punished for having better grades. They might be forced to play even though they needed a redshirt year,” Mullen says. “One of the thoughts I had was there’s a mandatory academic redshirt year for a certain group of people…well, if you are above that new standard you should get five years of eligibility. Why punish someone who might be forced to have to play?

“Instead of punishing guys for doing bad, why not reward guys for doing good?”

Well, that’s nice, but he’s a coach, so you can figure there’s another agenda lurking in the background.  And there is.

His idea is to counteract the NCAA’s requirement, set to go into effect August 2016, which requires prospective student-athletes to have a minimum GPA of 2.3. If the recruits can’t hit that 2.3 GPA figure but are above the old 2.0 scale, they’d be forced to take an academic redshirt year. The NCAA also raised its sliding scale based on GPA and SAT/ACT scores, and now requires recruits to have completed 10 of their 16 core classes before their senior year.

Mullen imagines a hypothetical scenario in which multiple players have to take an academic redshirt year, and how that’d force other guys into playing time before they might be ready. That’s the impetus behind his push to give those players an extra year of eligibility.

If Mullen’s idea were passed, it could dramatically change the way programs recruit. Schools would still recruit talented players with shaky transcripts, but the benefits of signing a stronger student would be big when another year of eligibility is on the table. It would even the scales a bit for programs with tough admissions standards.

So what he’s really after is more signing flexibility.  That, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  (In fact, if it leads to less pressure on coaches to futz with players’ grades, it’s likely a good thing.)  But the bottom line here is that this is about giving guys like him a lifeline to be able to manage continuing to bring in athletic talent that isn’t so talented in the classroom.  And to the extent that eases the pressure on high schools and high schoolers to bring their academic efforts up to a more serious level, that isn’t such a good thing.

What do y’all think?

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Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Meanwhile, in an alternate reality

The NCAA, in appealing the magistrate’s award of more than $45 million in attorney’s fees and costs in the O’Bannon litigation, asks Judge Wilken to wipe out almost every penny of that, because… well, because a win is only a win when the NCAA says it’s a win.

“There is no sense in which Mr. O’Bannon or any other former student-athlete plaintiff can be said to have substantially prevailed …”

If the Ninth Circuit doesn’t stay the lifting of Wilken’s order from the case by August 1, the NCAA is about to discover what “substantially prevailed” means.

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Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“Who doesn’t want more money?”

Count me in the “if it walks like a duck…” school of thought camp.  So when I hear folks talk like this

“Any little money will be nice,” said Georgia senior offensive tackle Kolton Houston. “There are spots throughout my college career that you definitely have to be like, ‘Do I go put gas money in my car or do I go eat dinner somewhere?’ That’s definitely going to make things a lot easier.”

… or this…

Bulldogs outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins said he’s “happy” to get his stipend.

“I’m hoping it’s a decent amount so I can get some new clothes instead of waiting for the holidays and waiting for mom and dad to get me some new outfits,” he said.

… or this…

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema thinks his staff needs to keep an eye out on of how players handle their money.

“You give a young man 18, 19, 20, 21 with a little bit of pocket change, with a lot of money to make bad decisions, things can go sideways in a New York minute,” he said. “So you got a kid that’s never had $1,000 in his pocket, and all of a sudden he’s got $2,000, that’s dangerous. That leads to dumb decisions. I think we have to monitor that as coaches and be aware of that.”

… or this

“As a freshman, if you start saving, you can have a large sum of money saved,” Theus said. “Some guys like to spend their money. Some guys have the things they like, watches or whatever it may be. They might to choose to spend it on that. But coach Richt is going to educate the guys and try to make them realize this is money they can save.”

… as far as I’m concerned, they can skip the euphemisms.  Student-athletes are getting paid, period.  And plenty of schools are falling all over themselves to pay the kids as much as they can.

Surprisingly, the world as we know it isn’t ending.  We haven’t heard so much as a peep lately out of Jim Delany about his plans to take the Big Ten to Division III.

So as amateurism is getting nibbled around the edges to death, how many of you are giving up on college football now?

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“I have no clue how to handle it.”

We are about a week from the O’Bannon ruling taking effect, and the list of questions that several athletic directors in Power Five conferences told Jon Solomon they still have about what the decision means if it holds boggles the mind.

* How does O’Bannon, which only addresses football and men’s basketball players, affect Title IX? If female athletes don’t get paid, are universities setting themselves up for Title IX litigation? Some ADs are prepared to provide men and women with an equal amount due to public backlash and legal concerns.

* Are walk-on players required to receive cost of attendance and/or deferred licensing money? Wilken used the term “recruit” — for instance, no school can offer a recruit more licensing money than any other recruit in the same class on the same team — but the word “recruit” could mean walk-ons based on NCAA definitions.

* Is the deferred money taxable income? It’s possible athletes would have to pay taxes for each year they’re credited with the new money, even though based on Wilken’s injunction they wouldn’t pocket the cash until they have stopped playing college sports.

* Where is the deferred money — perhaps $5,000 per year — housed until a player’s eligibility expires? Do schools create a trust fund? Do they store the money in their private athletic foundations? Is that permissible under varying state laws?

* Do schools write the deferred money offers into financial aid agreements starting Aug. 1? What if a school offers $5,000 a year to a recruit who accepts the deal and O’Bannon later gets overturned? Does the player still get the $5,000 even if the money conflicts with NCAA rules?

Pardon my French, but what the fuck have these people been doing for the last six months?  Mind you, these athletic directors get paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to run their operations.  To be scratching your butt waiting for the answers to appear like the tablets on Mount Sinai ain’t exactly the kind of leadership you’re being paid for, fellas.  But it’s probably the kind of leadership present-day college athletics deserves.

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Filed under The NCAA