Category Archives: The NCAA

Can the cream rise any farther than the top?

Andy Staples ($$) has written a massive piece about how the P5 schools (or most of them, anyway) should break off from the NCAA for football and form their own management association.  I’ll skip past the macro concern I have with it (without an antitrust exemption, forming a monolithic group means the schools lose the one competitive argument they’ve had to argue; besides, somebody’s gonna have to convince me the commissioners are ready to surrender their power to a central authority) as well as my questions about some of his individual suggestions, and turn, instead, to focus on his NIL argument.  Excerpts:

The people in charge now want to ensure the new NIL rules keep players from being paid to attend a certain school. This is a foolish thing to worry about. Of course, players will be paid to attend certain schools when the new rules are in effect. Players are paid under the table to attend certain schools now. Recruiting is a competitive endeavor, and opening up more avenues to pay players — because keeping those avenues closed violates their basic rights — will make it even easier to funnel money to players to choose certain schools.

… Could a booster under this system give a five-star high school quarterback a $1 million endorsement deal with the tacit agreement that the QB is getting the money because he signs with Big State? Absolutely. And when that QB gets beat out by the junior three-star (who just happens to be better because quarterback recruiting is a crapshoot), then that booster would be out $1 million and it would serve as a warning to anyone dumb enough to invest that kind of money in a 17-year-old.

… You might be saying, “But then only a few schools would get most of the best football recruits.” Yes. Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Clemson would get most of the best football recruits. Just like they do now.

Of all the arguments against player compensation, the competitive disadvantage one is the particular line I don’t get at all.  Right now, the powerhouse schools successfully use their resources to enhance facilities and infrastructure to attract the top recruits.  All that would change under a new compensation regime is that those resources would be redirected more efficiently to the recruits themselves.  That’s hardly a sea change.  Further, as Staples notes, there’s nothing stopping a school not in that group Staples cites from getting a bunch of boosters to pony up a fund to go out and battle them to attract recruits.

Now, you may not like watching the sausage being made, and I get that.  But I don’t understand the argument that somehow this is going to increase the lack of parity in college football.


Filed under College Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

“I’m uncomfortable coaching.”

Shocked, not shocked.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey believes money will be the main reason the NCAA will continue playing basketball this season and hold its men’s and women’s tournaments amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The answer is this: The season will continue on. It’s called the almighty dollar,” Mulkey said after the sixth-ranked Lady Bears lost 75-71 to Iowa State on Saturday night. “The NCAA has to have the almighty dollar from the men’s tournament. The almighty dollar is more important than the health and welfare of me, the players or anybody else.”

‘Ya think?  And I thought it was something, something doing it for the kids.


Filed under The NCAA

Today, in leveling the playing field

Bill Connelly makes two points in one here:

Competitive disadvantage done left the barn, people, and paying players isn’t gonna change that.


Filed under Alabama, The NCAA

Brittany Collens delenda est.

Here’s your weekly reminder that the NCAA is run by petty assholes.

When Brittany Collens first saw the news, she figured it was a joke. It was last October, and Collens, a professional tennis player, was driving home following a workout when her coach texted her an article about the National Collegiate Athletic Association punishing the University of Massachusetts, Amherst women’s tennis program for violating its amateurism rules.

Didn’t you play at UMass? her coach texted.

Collens did. As a senior in 2017, she helped the school win its first Atlantic 10 title in 15 years, capping a memorable season for Collens and her tight-knit teammates with what she calls “an absolutely fairy-tale ending.”

But now—three years later and completely out of the blue—the clock was striking midnight. After pulling off the road, Collens read the article. The NCAA was vacating 49 UMass women’s tennis victories from 2014-15 to 2016-17, including the team’s conference championship, because two players had received money from the school exceeding the full cost of attendance—thereby flouting the sacred and fundamental principle that college athletes shall not get more than whatever the NCAA says they are allowed to get, currently the value of their athletic scholarships plus cost of living stipends.

Curiosity curdling into disbelief, Collens realized that she and her former roommate, Anna Woosley, were the two players in question. Their terrible, no-good amateurism crime? When the pair moved out of dorms and into off-campus housing during their junior year, the school mistakenly continued to include a $252 telecommunications subsidy in their scholarship checks.

“It’s a stipend for athletes in on-campus housing, so they can have a phone jack for a landline,” Collens says. “I didn’t have a landline when I lived on campus. So I never even noticed it. I had to call my former coach and the UMass [athletic director] so they could explain what was happening, and why I was in trouble.

“It just doesn’t make sense. The rules don’t make sense.”

To you, that’s a bug.  To Mark Emmert, it’s a feature.  He must defend this amateurism.


Filed under The NCAA

“It’s not like the antitrust laws were passed yesterday…”

It appears the new sheriffs in town aren’t impressed with Mark Emmert’s sudden retreat on the NCAA’s proposed one-time transfer rule.

Blumenthal and Booker said they had no patience for the notion that the NCAA Division I Council and Board of Directors backed off scheduled votes this week on transfer and NIL proposals, in part, because of concerns the Justice Department’s antitrust division leader Makan Delrahim raised in a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert last Friday. Blumenthal indicated that any antitrust flaws in the proposals should have been apparent to the association and the proposals should have been tailored accordingly.

“It’s not like the antitrust laws were passed yesterday,” Blumenthal said. “They’ve been around for a while.”

Booker said he saw no reason why the Justice Department’s concerns with elements of the transfer process that weren’t being addressed by the proposed rules changes should have prevented the NCAA from making the change that the department actually lauded – addressing the five remaining Division I sports in which athletes generally are prohibited from playing for one year if they change schools.

“A good-faith measure for them would be to change their transfer rules,” so transferring athletes don’t have to sit out, Booker said. “I don’t think that this is a reaction to the Justice Department. I think this is a false cry of impotency on their part to address the real fairness and justice issues of the athletes that they say they’re organized to protect.”

I’m shocked, shocked that anyone would accuse the NCAA of having ulterior motives when it comes to doing it for the kids controlling the distribution of the enormous sums of money that flow through collegiate athletics.


Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

By their dollar signs, ye shall know them.

One thing I can count on about Mark Emmert is that he will always live down to my expectations.

NCAA president Mark Emmert said he “couldn’t disagree more” with a proposal that the association should part ways with the most lucrative sports under its purview in an effort to preserve the education-based model of sports it espouses.

Emmert delivered his annual state-of-the-union style address Tuesday afternoon at the NCAA convention, which is being held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 10-minute speech outlined his prescribed approach to some of the most pressing challenges the NCAA faces in what he deemed a “seminal year” for the century-old association. He said that while it would be naïve to ignore the “enormous amount of revenue” generated by sports such as FBS football and basketball, his hope is that the member schools that make up the NCAA will focus on spending that money in a way that prioritizes the needs of college athletes.

Nobody’s ever accused the NCAA of being naïve, that’s for sure.  (Insert “when they say it’s about the money” observation here.)

Doing it for the kids can never fail.  It can only be failed.


Filed under The NCAA

Nice one-time transfer ‘ya got there. Shame if anything happened to it.

These people are absolutely shameless.

The only way those issues are linked is that the NCAA is using one as leverage for the best deal it can obtain on the other.  Assholes.


Filed under The NCAA

They’ll do it every time.

You wanna know the difference between not giving a fuck and having no more fucks to give?


NCAA President Mark Emmert on Saturday said in a letter to the Justice Department’s antitrust division leader that he has “strongly recommended” to association governing groups that they delay votes scheduled for this week on proposed changes to rules regarding athletes’ ability to transfer and to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses.

Emmert said in the letter the association believes its rules are “fully compliant” with antitrust law…


On Saturday evening, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim offered a sharply worded reply in which he not only appeared to take issue with Emmert’s assessment of the association’s antitrust compliance, but also raised the issue of how that situation impacts athletes of color and from challenging socio-economic circumstances. He seemed to criticize the NCAA not for delaying a vote on the current transfer and name, image and likeness rules proposals, but for not developing proposals that would allow the NCAA to comply with antitrust law.

“As I indicated in my correspondence to Dr. Emmert, the NCAA, as a collective rule-making body is not immune from the antitrust laws,” Delrahim said in an email to USA TODAY Sports. “Its rules must be the least restrictive possible so as not to illegally harm competition.

“The Division welcomes further discussion of these matters with the NCAA, however, it is troubling that the NCAA continues its process delays to avoid addressing antitrust concerns to the detriment of college athletes, many of whom come from African-American and other diverse communities or come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.”

You know how this will end, right?  The NCAA will lose and its response will be to fret about how the new normal will hurt college athletes.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

They were **this** close.

From the annals of chutzpah:

In an interview on Saturday night, Emmert repeatedly expressed frustration and described the Justice Department’s move, which he said had stunned N.C.A.A. officials, as a “massive monkey wrench” that eviscerated months of careful planning.

“We were right on the cusp of making some really, really important changes to provide some much-needed flexibility and, all of a sudden, now we’ve got to pause,” said Emmert, who nevertheless vowed that the N.C.A.A. would ultimately change its rules.

Somehow, I don’t think “the Justice Department ate our antitrust homework” is going to placate anyone that matters.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, The NCAA

Dear Mr. Emmert

If you think you had a bad day yesterday, just think what it must have been like around NCAA headquarters.

The Justice Department’s antitrust division leader sent a letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert on Friday that expresses strong concerns about the association’s direction on rules regarding athletes’ ability to transfer and to make money from the use of their names, images and likenesses.

Proposed changes in both areas are scheduled to be on the agenda of Monday’s meeting of the Division I Council and Thursday’s meeting of the Division I Board of Directors.

But in the letter — a copy of which was obtained by USA TODAY Sports — Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim says one part of the NCAA’s prospective approach to regulating athletes’ involvement in name, image and likeness deals “may raise concerns under the antitrust laws.”

If you’re running a cartel, those are seven simple words you never want to hear.  And this isn’t going to make things any cheerier:

More generally addressing other rules that will remain in place, he wrote: “Ultimately, the antitrust laws demand that college athletes, like everyone else in our free market economy, benefit appropriately from competition.”

Basically, all three branches of the federal government, plus a number of states, are telling the NCAA and schools to get off their collective asses and do the right thing.  Here’s guessing they won’t until it’s too late.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA