Category Archives: The NCAA

Drug policy and The Oklahoma State Way

The NCAA just put the hammer down on Oklahoma State for its repeated violations of its own drug policy.

Just kidding, at least to the first part of that sentence.

In addition to a reduction in recruiting evaluation days for football coaches and number of allowed official visits, both of which were self-imposed penalties, the NCAA put Oklahoma State on probation until April 23, 2016, levied an $8,500 fine and suspended the Orange Pride program for four years.

Orange Pride, in case you were wondering, is an all-female hosting group that “…did not follow NCAA guidelines in its recruitment of prospects.”  (I’ll leave that for you to ponder.)

But with regard to the latter, the NCAA found five football players between 2008-2012 who should have been withheld from a total of seven games based on the school’s testing policy.  And that’s supposedly a pretty big deal, because the NCAA’s only involvement in the drug area is a rule stating that schools must follow their own policies.  Which OSU clearly didn’t.

The topper is the school’s defense here:

According to the final public report, Oklahoma State athletics director Mike Holder told the infractions committee he believed he had “latitude” to make exceptions to Oklahoma State’s policy and did so after consulting with football coach Mike Gundy on the individual cases. He admitted during the hearing he was mistaken in that view and that he should have abided by the “letter of the law.”

… (Oklahoma State president Burns) Hargis said the instances where the drug testing policy wasn’t followed were the result of Gundy “trying to do what was best for the student-athlete.”

So even with a program (allegedly) enforcing a drug policy weaker than Georgia’s, the school still felt the need on an institutional basis to ignore it whenever the head coach thought it was inconvenient and all NCAA enforcement can come up in response with is a fine and a restriction on a few official recruiting visits.

We are such chumps.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

“Right now, I’d want the cost of attendance to be the same across the board.”

For Mark Richt, as a member of the newly hatched NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee, that header indicates what would be his first order of business.  As someone duking it out with his peers on the recruiting trail, his frustration is understandable.

When addressing fans later, Richt said: “I’m not too thrilled about that some schools are going to be able than others. At least it looks that way right this moment.”

The problem is, of course, the NCAA knows it can’t be involved in the price-fixing business.  Even Mark Emmert’s had a two-by-four whomped up against his head enough to realize that now.

Cost of attendance remains a hot-button topic among universities, particularly in the idea that such a measure, if adopted, would widen the gap between resource-heavy athletic departments and their smaller counterparts.

“Some schools are going to have to decide, do we want to allow full COA in our conference,” Emmert said. “And then individual schools will have to decide, are we going to go that high?”

That’s right, kids.  A conference could choose a limit to impose on its members.  A school can choose a limit on its own.  It’s just a universal ceiling that’s a no-no.

You know who sounds like he understands that?  The incoming SEC commissioner:

“We’re going to be attentive of to the legal outcomes,” said Sankey, addressing concern over potential recruiting advantages that could come as a result of COA. “But at the extent that we can help with implementation at the conference level, we’ll do that as appropriate.

“Those recruiting decisions have always been made on a lot of issues and people can cite why [an athlete] chose a particular school or coach, facilities, geography, television exposure. You mentioned another component that certainly could be a part of that conversation.”

But COA impacts far more than student athletes. The number, which is determined by each university’s financial aid officers and then published to school websites, is often used to help determine how much aid students can receive to attend school.

“We understood the realities that there are cost-of-attendance differentials on our campuses,” Sankey said. “That’s the way the Higher Education Act is formed and our institutions have had that flexibility over a number of years.

“Moving forward, we obviously have the requirement that we’re going to comply with litigation outcomes, as we understand those outcomes; make sure we frame properly the implementation that is consistent with the Higher Education Act.”

There are two things to pull from there.  One, Sankey’s already talked to the lawyers.  Two, there are tradeoffs to jacking up a school’s COA.  With regard to the latter, if you decide to be more generous with your student-athletes, it doesn’t end there.  The generosity has to extend to all of your students who receive aid.  That’s why you’re not suddenly going to see COA numbers in the stratosphere; it would bankrupt a school to go that route.

So keep in mind a couple of things if you’re someone pulling your hair out about the COA like Richt is.  Any redress is going to have to come at the conference level, which means that’s the level we’ll eventually watch the game of Keeping Up With The Joneses played at.  And ultimately, Mark Emmert (!) has the correct take on things.

“Will that change the balance between the haves and have-nots? I think it won’t,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said Thursday when he was asked about cost of attendance during the Associated Press Sports Editors’ annual meetings with league commissioners. “I think the answer is, it won’t change it any more than it already has been changed.”

True ‘dat.  Emmert as the voice of reason ought to tell you how much the O’Bannon ruling has resonated at this point.  So don’t kid yourself into thinking it’s not going to drive the COA train now.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“It has all kinds of problems. It is highly controversial.”

Shit.  If Mark Emmert believes there’s a problem with it, I may have to rethink my opposition to Jim Delany’s “year of readiness”.

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Filed under The NCAA

“It’s put a perverse incentive on schools to inflate their listed costs.”

And so, predictably, the money chase begins.

Last year, after a federal judge ruled that the National Collegiate Athletic Association may not cap scholarships for athletes below their full cost of attendance, Texas Christian University conducted an online survey of undergraduates to determine the accuracy of its cost-of-attendance estimates…

… Texas Christian determined that students’ monthly living expenses were much higher than the university had been projecting. As a result, the university came up with a new estimate — $4,700 per academic year, more than double its previous figure — which it now includes among the expenses for prospective students.

Shocking, right?  Okay, maybe not in the abstract.  After all, TCU is just following the leader here.

Officials at Auburn University, whose cost-of-attendance estimates had remained relatively flat during six of those recent seven years — from $2,304 and $2,678 — experienced a big spike in 2014-15. That year its numbers jumped to $5,586, where they will remain for 2015-16, says Mike Reynolds, executive director of student financial services.

He says Auburn had mistakenly not been including transportation costs in the estimates, which it added in 2014. Institutions must account for cost-of-attendance estimates different ways for different reports, he says, and it was a simple oversight that had nothing to do with sports.

Yeah, sure.  But still, Auburn’s gonna Auburn, and all that.  How ’bout an example closer to home?

That does not sound like the Georgia Way.  And you get the feeling that this particular arms race is just beginning.

This aggression will not stand, man.

In the span of a few months, Texas Christian went from having one of the lowest cost-of-attendance estimates among the 65 biggest athletic departments to one of the highest, according to a Chronicle analysis.

Moves like that have led to much consternation in college sports, as programs with less money to spend worry that they will be at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting players.

Such worries have led athletic directors to consider new rules that would standardize aid allowances for athletes. The discussions are at an early stage but have included suggestions that all major programs be allowed to offer players a certain amount — say, $4,000 per player over nine months — no matter how much their colleges cost to attend.

Perfect.  Fix the problem you created by price-fixing with more price-fixing.  It’s like the schools want the courts to micromanage the whole student-athlete compensation thing.  “Save us from our own stupidity” will also make for a nice sales pitch to Congress when the schools go asking for that antitrust exemption.

In the meantime, watch the numbers at the usual suspects climb.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“The 55-year old Richt is one of the most respected coaches in the game.”

When it comes to being named to the new NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, it sounds like that plus five bucks will get you a mocha latte at Starbucks.

Bowlsby previously told CBSSports.com that the new oversight committees are expected to lessen coaches’ influence on the process.

“The NFL, they don’t ask coaches what they think about the rules,” Bowlsby said earlier this month. “The owners make the rules.”

Seems like just the kind of shit Nick Saban doesn’t have time for.

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Filed under The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

I’ve got the chafing dishes fired up for you…

  • Carvell asks a bunch of coaches if early signees should be let out of their NLIs if the head coach is gone from the program before the February signing day.  Most said yes.  (Although Stoops has a point when he says, “No, because I believe you sign with the school – with the school and with the program. I believe that’s why you sign. You sign to go to school at that university. If that’s not what you’re doing, then you don’t need to sign early.”)
  • Athlon ranks the SEC football coaching jobs.  Georgia is third.
  • Charlie Strong and Kevin Sumlin want their schools to play each other.  (“Can you imagine Florida not playing Florida State or South Carolina not playing Clemson?” Strong said.)  Good thing Steve Patterson is there to maintain the status quo!
  • The NCAA claims that some members of its Committee on Infractions received “violent threats” after the materials in the McNair litigation were released, although it remains mum on the details.
  • And here’s a power ranking of the SEC’s cross-divisional games in 2015.  Georgia is, understandably, tops in the East, but check out what the author has to say about LSU’s supposedly tough draw.  “The Tigers have won four of the last five vs. the Gators, but again, Florida is one of the most dangerous teams in the country” sounds like something straight out of Joe Alleva’s mouth.
  • Barrett Sallee is really impressed with Georgia’s linebacking corps – imagine what he’d think if he’d remembered to include Davin Bellamy in his analysis.
  • In case you missed it, Ohio State made sure that Urban Meyer will be paid more than Jim Harbaugh (but not as much as Nick Saban).  Though as we all know, things could change down the road.

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Filed under Big Ten Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are., The NCAA

Friday morning buffet

Fuel up for a big weekend.

  • It’s not that I think the NCAA made a bad decision in Braxton Miller’s case.  It’s that I can’t understand why it can’t avoid nitpicking more often.
  • Okay, so there’s one thing that favors G-Day over the Masters:  at least nobody’s gonna confiscate your cell phone in Athens.
  • Here’s another example of how schools spend money promoting their academic mission.
  • Marshall and Hegedus may or may not play tomorrow.
  • Mark Richt feels like it’s his failure if he has to kick a player off the team.
  • Then there’s Chris Conley.
  • Interesting factoid“In 2015, the SEC does not have a single alum head coach and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier (Florida) is the only one who even attended an SEC school.”
  • Good news on the Leonard Floyd front:  “Yeah, he should be full go in June, right in there,” Sherrer told reporters on Thursday. “Possibly before then. Just going off the time frame they said when everything happened. He’ll be fine this summer.”

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football, The NCAA