Category Archives: The NCAA

“Institutional autonomy should reign.”

Well, maybe not so much when it comes to pedophilia, but academics?  Hells, yeah!

If you really want to get a handle on how cramped this approach is, check out this baby step:

McDavis said in a recent interview with The Associated Press the committee has already agreed that any time a coach or paid member of the school’s athletic staff is involved in an academic-misconduct case the NCAA should be involved.

‘Ya think?

Too bad nobody’s paying players to work hard in the classroom.  The NCAA would be all over that shit in a New York minute.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA

Mike Slive on freshman ineligibility

It sounds like Jim Delany’s got some convincing to do.

Hard to argue with any of that.  But if the Big Ten thinks it knows best, I’m sure Slive won’t object to that conference going its own way on the matter.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., SEC Football, The NCAA

Oh, so now you care about “legal responsibility”.

Kinda funny to hear that sort of defense from the NCAA after Mark Emmert moved heaven and earth to penalize Penn State.

Maybe freshman ineligibility will fix this.

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Filed under Academics? Academics., See You In Court, The NCAA

Why it’s hard to take Jim Delany at face value.

Andy Staples tries to be fair-minded about Delany’s stance on freshman ineligibility, but here’s where the buck stops:

… Unfortunately for Delany, reality has shifted since 1966. Back then, college sports were a business but not a multibillion-dollar business. Coaches, athletic directors and conference commissioners in the most powerful leagues made decent enough wages by the standard of the day, but nowhere near the megabucks they make now. No commissioner would have envisioned that he’d be the de facto head of a cable television network.

But that’s what Delany is now. He has made millions off college athletics. He created the Big Ten Network. He will be the one watching as ESPN and FOX trip over one another to throw money at the Big Ten when its first-tier media rights become available next year. In fact, it’s easy to argue no one is more responsible for turning college sports into the cutthroat business it is today than Delany. It also doesn’t help that Delany and his fellow commissioners needed a host of federal lawsuits to convince them to give the football and basketball players whose efforts produce all of the money their first raise—if you can call the cost-of-attendance stipends coming down the pipe a raise—since the 1940s. When an administrator suggests anything that appears to take something away from the athletes upon whom the business is built, he will be accused of having ulterior motives.

Particularly when said administrator has a track record of overstating his case.  And when his latest stand is conveniently limited to the two sports which generate the main part of college athletics revenue, that doesn’t help.

Another thing Staples touches on that deserves more attention is what the end game of returning to a model where freshman football and men’s basketball student-athletes couldn’t see the field would look like.

… The idea is that players would have fewer responsibilities as freshmen and would have more time to acclimate to college life and college classes. The most pie-in-the-sky model would severely limit the amount of time the athletic programs could require of their freshmen. Yet the truth is no matter what the rules say coaches would still force players to do everything except play in the games. So, realistically, the players would miss out on the most fun part of being an athlete and only get a few hours back in return. That’s hardly a fair trade. Plus, most coaches would want to field freshman teams that would then play one another. That’s what happened before 1972, and it would probably happen again.

Given that we live in a world of “voluntary” summer practices and 20-hour per week limitations that are conveniently worked around, I think that’s spot on.  Most of these kids aren’t enrolling at State U for the chance to become Rhodes Scholars, and their coaches aren’t expecting that either. They need those kids preparing for their sophomore years on the field.  If all ineligibility boils down to is these kids having a few extra hours on their hands on a few Saturday afternoons in the fall, it’s hard to see how that magically translates into full-blown scholarhood.  But maybe those of you who think Delany’s on to something here can explain how it would help more.

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“What people do know there is a lot of money [available] through athletics.”

I was going to make this the subject of an Envy and Jealousy post, but it’s so damned good on the merits that it deserves to be taken for what it says even more than how it’s written.

Start with this:

Apologists for the NCAA cartel tend to assume that they’re advocating for athletes being treated like other students. But this is completely untrue. What they’re defending is in fact a set of unique and extraordinary burdens being placed on athletes. Virtually no other students are banned from receiving compensation from voluntary third parties, and this is because it won’t make a lick of sense. Why on earth shouldn’t a music student be able to take a paying gig or a journalism student sell a story? Similarly, we don’t claim that scholarship students working as RAs or in the bookstore can’t be compensated, or that staff and faculty who get tuition vouchers for family members don’t need to be additionally compensated for their work. These rules aren’t about ensuring that athletes are “really” students or whatever; they’re about attempting to preserve competitive balance. And this isn’t a good reason to allow athletes to be exploited, even before we get to the fact that the NCAA doesn’t have anything remotely resembling competitive balance even with these rules.
[Emphasis added.]

If anything, the NCAA’s amateurism protocol exacerbates that.  The money that rolls in to the P5 schools is spent on coaches and facilities in a way that mid-major schools can’t match.  If the money flow were spent directly on student-athlete compensation, at least some mid-major programs might stand a better chance of attracting good athletes – no, they couldn’t match the depth of an SEC program, for instance, but they could offer a viable option for kids who might otherwise be facing a more marginal career at an SEC program.

And that’s why Dennis Dodd’s cheerleading for the schools’ pending burst of generosity (“The average oboe player on a music scholarship doesn’t have a $60,000 insurance premium available through the NCAA Student Assistance Fund. Jameis Winston did.”) misses the mark.  That oboe player isn’t prevented from getting paid by third parties.  Winston was.  And like it or not, what Winston could have gotten for himself in an open marketplace exceeds that $60,000 premium payment by a helluva lot.

Then there’s this rebuttal to Morgan Burke’s “What’s changed?” bullshit:

Finally, defenses of the NCAA tend to be rife with a rhetorical technique we’ve discussed recently: someone with an indefensible position changing the subject to an allegedly superior alternative that isn’t actually on offer. The obvious problem for NCAA apologists that Paul’s post raises is why athletes should be forbidden cash compensation — not only by universities but by third parties — because of the Noble Ideals of Amateurism and the Sanctity of the Groves of Academe while everybody else involved with the NCAA is allowed to fill up wheelbarrows full of cash and deposit them in university-provided cars and drive off to get a university-provided oil change. One answer is to say that all of the other NCAA-related profit-taking should be stopped. The obvious problem is that it’s not going to be, and in the meantime we have to treat athletes based on the system as it is. If coaches start getting paid like associate professors of English and the NCAA gives its games to networks for free while banning advertising and ticket prices are capped at $10, we can talk about whether scholarships are adequate compensation. (We still don’t need to talk about bans on third party compensation, because these are just terrible policy under any possible system of college athletics.) Until then, players should not be forbidden from getting any compensation they’re able to negotiate.

Of course, first they have to be allowed to negotiate, but put that aside.  The players are treated like amateurs, but they’re the only parties in the game that are.  And with each passing day, it’s harder and harder to see the justification for that.

Not that the schools won’t try.  As Burke himself can attest, letting the players have more of the revenue stream they help generate is something of a zero-sum game.  And schools would rather not slice that pie up any more than they have to.

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UPDATE:  Andy Schwarz has a little more on the Purdue “expense” transfer.

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Filed under The NCAA

“You can’t turn down thousands of people and say yes to one just so he can play…”

Maybe somebody at the NCAA can explain how this isn’t a textbook case of lack of institutional control, because, for the life of me, I sure as hell can’t. (h/t)

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“What have you done to the early signing period?”

A couple of fallout matters from the LSU recruiting sanctions that occurred as a result of an offensive lineman changing his commitment after signing a financial aid agreement.

First, Miles and his staff had an inkling that there might be issues with contact.

FAAs are only meant for those planning to enroll early. His decommitment and commitment to Alabama came more than a month later.

“LSU knew there was a very good chance Matt wouldn’t enroll early,” the family member said.

LSU’s staff treated Womack like a regular prospect in the first few weeks after he signed the FAA. Coaches played it safe, not risking illegal contact. After all, what if the lineman decided against enrolling early or decommitted?

“For the longest, they were only talking to him through Twitter, which was something they could do legally without the FAA,” the source said. “Somewhere in the process, I guess they felt like they needed to turn up the heat, and that’s when they started texting and calling and stuff like that.”

Miles’ visit came a few days later as the Tigers worked to convince Womack to enroll early, as he originally had planned. He declined, and LSU’s compliance called the Womacks shortly after the visit, telling them that “all contact was cut off” between the staff and Womack.

The horse was already out of the barn by then, of course.  But that goes to show that this wasn’t some huge surprise coming out of the confusion of interpreting a new NCAA rule.  The implication of that seems pretty clear to me – there was an intention by the NCAA to put the brakes on FAA-only deals.

In any case, nobody can say they weren’t warned now.  Which leads to another concern…

Southeastern Louisiana coach Ron Roberts, a 25-year coaching veteran, called the ruling “pretty ridiculous” and said the sanctions are likely to deter coaches from signing prospects to financial aid agreements.

“What have you done to the early signing period?” he said, a question directed at the game’s governing body, the NCAA.

An official early signing period for football is expected to be approved by conference commissioners this spring and will be instituted this fall for a two-year trial period. The 72-hour window in mid-December would allow prospects to sign a binding National Letter of Intent.

The early period would not do away with the financial aid agreement. Early enrollees will still be able to sign FAAs on Aug. 1 of their senior years, granting the school or schools to which they sign unlimited contact until their enrollment.

Pete Boone, the former Ole Miss athletic director, said there should be no early signing date in football at all.

“It’s pretty clear that if you do sign somebody in August and if they’re not going to show up, then you know you’re taking a risk at that now,” he said of the FAA. “Kids nowadays … the problem is there shouldn’t be an early signing date.”

This one I’m not sure I’m getting.  I presume the early signing period will involve NLIs.  If that’s the case, other schools can’t contact the kid and he would lose a year of eligibility if he chose to renege afterwards.  Am I missing something?

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Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA