Category Archives: The NCAA

Working for the man

Here it comes.

An Iowa state representative on Wednesday introduced a bill that would classify college athletes in that state as employees. The bill is authored by veteran Rep. Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines), who currently serves as the ranking member of the Iowa House Labor Committee.

The bill comes as conversation heats up surrounding player compensation amid the introduction of name, image and likeness rights for athletes. Several sources told CBS Sports last week the NCAA will have to soon deal with an employee-employer relationship, at least at the highest level.

Hunter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If adopted as law, the bill would apply to Iowa’s three public institutions: Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Iowa. It would not govern private schools in the state.

“My intel says it has no legs,” said a high-ranking source from one of those public schools who did not want to be identified.

Wishful thinking, or nah?  I mean, this had no legs, either, at the beginning:

Hsu compared the Iowa bill to California’s SB-206, the original state NIL bill filed in 2019 that spurred the momentum for the nationwide NIL movement.

This bill would allow the Iowa state board of regents — those who oversee the public universities — the ability to fix athlete compensation in the same way it sets compensation for school presidents and other state employees.

This particular bill indeed may not fly at this juncture, but it’s hard not to see history repeating… especially once a legislature in a football-rabid state senses a recruiting advantage is in the offing.

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

Look who’s having a stupid contest.

Georgia fan:  Gee, the latest bunch of recruiting violations UGA was hit were stupid and petty.

Tennessee fan:  Hold our beer!

On Oct. 16, before UT played a home game against Ole Miss, fans packed the Vol Walk pathway, where players and coaches make their traditional trek from Gibbs Hall to Gate 21 of Neyland Stadium.

Recruits were at the football practice facility and overseen by UT’s recruiting support staff. They were supposed to watch Vol Walk from a parking lot overlooking the route. But congestion from the huge number of fans hemmed in the recruits and botched that plan.

“After getting stuck at the top of the street where buses would unload the football team in approximately 5-10 minutes, and being unable to get back to an area away from the street because of directions from police officers working crowd control, (the assistant director of recruiting) made the decision to direct the prospects toward the stadium as quickly as possible,” the university report said.

“At that point, because of the number of fans, this involved walking down the street and created an impermissible gameday simulation.”

So rather than watch Vol Walk, recruits participated in it — or, at least, a preview of it before the team did the real thing.

Yes, there are sanctions for that.

UT took action and self-imposed sanctions: rules training for its staff; reduction of recruiting contact opportunities by one; designed different route for recruits around Vol Walk to avoid a repeat occurrence; and coach Josh Heupel was notified that a similar violation may result in his suspension for one or more games, which is standard language for deterring future infractions.

The SEC further ruled that UT could not have in-person off-campus contact with the involved recruits for 14 days, beginning Dec. 8, and the assistant director of recruiting could not engage in recruiting activities from Dec. 10-12.

And the NCAA required UT to suspend the assistant director of recruiting for one game, and the football program reduced its recruiting evaluation days by two.

Dumb and dumber:  Tennessee and the NCAA, a meteor recruiting violation.

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Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Recruiting, The NCAA

NIL assist

Well, now, here’s an interesting development.

Amazingly enough, considering all its warts, I don’t think HB 617 does, either, at least as long as it’s not a matter of the support being provided in exchange for the player attending the school to play sports.

I’ll be curious to see how much more aggressive Georgia gets with this.  Given Smart’s approach to getting and keeping talent in the fold, my guess is pretty aggressive.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery, The NCAA

Looks like they caught Kirby’s bag man.

Weiszer“Georgia reported three NCAA violations involving the football program for impermissible recruiting inducements between October and the end of December in its latest quarterly summary.”

Here’s the big one:

One violation resulted in football staff members being prohibited from going with recruits or their guests to the UGA bookstore.

That stemmed from am Oct. 17  violation when a non-coaching staff member gave a $50 loan to a recruit’s parent to complete a purchase. The parent said he would repay the loan but the staff member failed to collect the repayment when the family hurried to leave campus for a flight.

Georgia stopped recruiting the player and the staff member was barred from recruiting activities for 90 days.

Fitty dollah!  Wait ’til Gator fans get ahold of that one.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

The smartest person working in collegiate sports?

Well, after reading all the chatter from movers and shakers in the wake of yesterday’s ratification of the NCAA’s new constitution, I know it’s not this guy.

In a study conducted by the NCAA, two-thirds of Power 5 executives believe a governance change is needed and suggestions include a Power 5 breakaway from D-I or an FBS breakaway from NCAA oversight. In fact, one anonymous SEC president wrote in the survey that the Power 5 “should be an organization unto itself” and leave the NCAA to manage everyone else.

“I think that would not be an ideal outcome,” says Jere Morehead, Georgia’s president, who sits on the transformation committee. “It’s possible we have a new subdivision,” he continues. “I will tell you that I don’t think it works well to have one D-I school with a budget of $10 million and another with a budget of $150 million and expect we can resolve those differences with some of the issues we have discussed.”

Gotta keep Emmert as a puppet head so nobody gets pissed at the folks pulling the strings, right, Jere?

Nah, I’m voting for Betsy Mitchell.  Who, you might ask?  She’s the athletic director at Cal Tech and with two quotes from yesterday showed she has an impressive intolerance for bullshit.

“Why are we still trying to stick together,” Betsy Mitchell, athletic director at CalTech.

Bingo!  Money is driving this particular train, so why should a place like CalTech seek common ground with a place like Georgia?  What’s the point?

If anyone knows the issues within the NCAA, it’s Betsy Mitchell.

She was an athlete at one of college athletics’ richest juggernauts, Texas, has been a coach at Division I’s lowest tier and now is the athletic director of one of the NCAA’s smallest schools, Division III Caltech. She intimately understands the disparities between the NCAA’s 1,000 member schools. And she’s got a suggestion to fix it.

“The commercial priorities of some members means they need to go do their own thing,” says Mitchell. “I kind of wish they would.”

As much as the Jere Moreheads of the college football world would like to pretend this is rocket science, it ain’t.  The real issue is that the Jere Moreheads of the college football world don’t want to admit how much commercial interests are at the heart of the NCAA’s current struggle.

College officials who spent the past few months collectively working to agree on a refined constitution say the most contentious of the issues centered, in no surprise, on money. Division I leaders decided to keep the amount of revenue it annually distributes to Division II and Division III despite the two lower tiers demanding a bigger cut. For years, they have split 8% of the revenue funds, roughly $80–100 million, mostly derived from the D-I men’s basketball tournament and used to operate D-II and D-III championships.

At times heated, the money debate was “the elephant in the room,” says ACC commissioner Jim Phillips, who is also a member of the NCAA’s constitution and transformation committees.

No matter how much they try to claim it’s all about the kids, it’s not.  And never will be.

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Filed under The NCAA

The NCAA is shocked, shocked there’s cheating in this establishment.

There’s something almost marvelous about the way the NCAA pretends it’s finally on to something.

For decades, the NCAA’s investigative unit justifiably has been criticized about perceived selective enforcement and arbitrary punishments, not to mention the interminable years-long process of settling many cases. There finally is a push for consequential reform.

“The constitution needs to be updated, a lot of the procedures need to be updated,” one conference commissioner told On3. “There is a disparity in the infractions process. For many years, the smaller schools have been more heavily penalized than the bigger schools. The infractions committee really doesn’t come down hard on the Power 5. They come down hard on the Cleveland States.”

That’s a reference to the late Jerry Tarkanian’s famous quip about the NCAA being so mad at Kentucky that it slapped Cleveland State with two more years of probation.

That Tarkanian quote is from 1989.  No rush, right, fellas?

Of course, this is college sports.  There’s always somebody with an agenda.

Additionally, LEAD1, an association that represents all 130 FBS ADs, has petitioned the NCAA Division I Board of Directors to change its infractions approach so that schools that cooperate with NCAA investigations would enjoy stronger protections.

“Penalties levied from the (Committee on Infractions) should be more narrowly tailored, targeting bad actors, rather than punishing innocent student-athletes never involved in the egregious conduct,” reads one of LEAD1’s several recommendations.

“Penalties such as scholarship reductions, financial aid penalties, postseason bans, and elimination of records undermine our mission.”

Very noble sounding.  What’s the catch?

But here’s what’s left unsaid: LEAD1’s proposal doesn’t just protect athletes. The organization’s recommendations also protect ADs and administrators who should be responsible for monitoring their coaches’ conduct.

Their self-serving recommendations would allow universities that employ rulebreakers to steer clear of the stiffest penalties, as long as they throw overboard the “bad actors.”

In other words, gather evidence that a losing coach cheats, fire that coach, and start over.

Well, that beats blaming Cleveland State, I guess.  Cooperating with an NCAA investigation will become the new vote of confidence for a head coach.

Of course, this is before Todd Berry weighs in on the matter.  Let’s see what’s left of this particular noble cause after the coaches weigh in.

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College football reaps what the NCAA hath sown.

Kirby Smart’s lament:

The problems he mentions are all matters that anyone with half a brain could have seen coming a decade ago.

Unfortunately, nobody at the NCAA had half a brain.  Convincing themselves that they (including the schools who employ Emmert and his minions) have been the smartest people in the room all along has been quite the trick.

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Filed under The NCAA

“At the end of the day, a crime isn’t a crime unless there is a punishment attached.”

Business as usual.

It is not at all clear that the NCAA is serious about levying punishments against schools whose NIL programs are suspected of running afoul of the few rules that exist.

What is clear is that the NCAA wants you to think it is.

Well, they may be selling that, but who’s buying?

“Whenever Emmert says anything, he’s nebulous,” a prominent college athletics source told On3. “The NCAA has said that they can’t do anything, so what are we doing? Is he just trying to say that they are trying?”

The only person in college athletics with less credibility than Mark Emmert is Bill Hancock.  Though, at least Hancock doesn’t have the power to punish anyone.

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If nature abhors a vacuum, does it hate the NCAA?

After seeing the NCAA do nothing about NIL compensation besides flail away fruitlessly in the courts for years and whine that Congress needs to do something about it, while abdicating their responsibility to deliver a concrete set of rules and regulations to govern its member schools, is anyone really surprised by this?

The NCAA is actively looking into a pair of high-profile NIL deals involving football players at Brigham Young University and the University of Miami for potential violations of the association’s interim rules regarding new marketing rights for college athletes, according to multiple people familiar with the probe.

NCAA enforcement staffers are trying to determine if these two deals qualify as a pay-for-play set-up, which is prohibited under the NCAA’s temporary NIL guidelines, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the details are private.

“Actively” is doing a shit ton of heavy lifting there, and I suspect the relevant parties know that.

“We have communicated with the NCAA concerning the Built Bar NIL arrangement,” Jon McBride, BYU’s associate athletic director for communications, told Sportico in a statement Friday. “They have informed us they do not have any additional questions at this time. We will continue to monitor and abide by the NCAA interim NIL policy.”

… Jason Leonard, the NAAC’s president and executive director of compliance at Oklahoma, says his group pushed the NCAA to move briskly in shoring up the distinction between permissible and impermissible payments from third parties to college athletes.

The BYU and Miami deals have been viewed by others in the compliance space as NCAA gut checks, effectively daring the weakened and besieged governing body to take an increasingly unpopular—and, perhaps, illegally anticompetitive—stand against athletes earning money while they play.

“There has been this waiting period to see where the NCAA is going to be,” said Leonard. “If they don’t take any action, then potentially more schools are going to jump in with both feet—because you have to.”

Somebody doesn’t sound overly concerned about the situation.

Dan Lambert — the Miami Hurricanes booster and founder of a mixed martial arts team and gym — said the momentum from Mario Cristobal’s hiring has left him encouraged that he (in combination with other local businessmen) will be able to double the monthly stipend offered to Hurricanes players through the NCAA’s new Image and Likeness rules.

Lambert made his comments three days before Sportico reported Friday that the NCAA is exploring whether his Miami deal violates any NCAA NIL rules. UM has not been informed of any ongoing NCAA investigation.

Lambert, reached by phone after Sportico’s story was released, was adamant that his NIL deal violated no NCAA rules.

“[Expletive] the NCAA,” Lambert said Friday evening. “I would love to sue those scumbags. I hired the pre-eminent attorney in the country on NIL [Darren Heitner] and he crossed every T, dotted every I and they still want to look into it. Maybe [the NCAA is] scared they’re losing their power. They’re all pieces of [expletive].”

Tell us what you really think, dude.

But don’t worry, Jason.  Mark Emmert is on the case.

What’s the over/under on how long it takes Oklahoma to join the team NIL queue?

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Filed under The NCAA

Alex, I’ll take Target Rich Environments for $200.

Just another day on the Plains.

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UPDATE:  Not with a bang…

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Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, The NCAA