Category Archives: The NCAA

Does O’Bannon leave a legacy?

The New York Times’ Joe Nocera thinks so, in two ways.

As the first case involving athletes fighting the N.C.A.A. to gain any traction in court, O’Bannon reaped an enormous amount of publicity. (It didn’t hurt that the lead plaintiff was a high-profile former N.C.A.A. champion who was eloquent and highly credible.) Reporters and others began to take a closer look at the N.C.A.A.’s rules and discovered what a small group of critics had been saying for years: Many of the rules were unfair, trivial and, in some cases, idiotic.

This increased scrutiny put the college sports establishment on the defensive. And it began to make changes, at least on the margins, to improve the lot of college athletes…

With regard to those changes, I don’t think there’s any question about the timing there, just about whether it’s a matter of correlation, which the NCAA would argue, or causation, which the plaintiffs (and, to be honest, I) would argue.  It’s too convenient to insist that the schools would have proceeded exactly as they have over the past three years without the pressure from this case and the Northwestern unionization ruling.

Finally, the fact that the N.C.A.A. has been labeled an antitrust violator, thanks to O’Bannon, is no small thing. That leads to the second question: What comes now?

The answer is that two more cases, which are both being heard by Judge Wilken, are also aimed at overturning the N.C.A.A.’s amateurism rules. One is known as the Jenkins case; it argues that the N.C.A.A.’s compensation limits have no justification under antitrust law. The other is the Alston case, which seeks damages for all the years in which athletes weren’t compensated for the full cost of attendance, even though they were entitled to it, according to the O’Bannon ruling.

The fact that the N.C.A.A. has been branded an antitrust violator is hugely advantageous to the plaintiffs. The N.C.A.A. knows it, too, which is why it wanted the Supreme Court to take the O’Bannon case: in the hope that the court would overturn that antitrust label.

“I’ve always thought the O’Bannon result was more advantageous to us than it was to them,” Jeffrey Kessler, the lead lawyer in the Jenkins case, said on Monday. “Ultimately, unless the N.C.A.A. gets an antitrust exemption, competition is going to win out.”

In other words, in the absence of Congress stepping in and giving the schools an exemption, the sharks are still in the water.  It’s also worth noting that with the Supreme Court declining to step in, only cases brought in the Ninth Circuit have a controlling appellate ruling.  So there’s still plenty of fighting left to do.  Will the NCAA continue to gird up and spend big money on lawyers and settlements, or will it decide to cut its losses and negotiate a sensible framework for all concerned?

Yeah, that was a rhetorical question.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

That’s all on O’Bannon.

Meaning, the Ninth Circuit ruling stands and as a result, the NCAA has violated federal antitrust law.  It’s just the damages they’ll be haggling over in the future.

I wonder if we’ll hear from Stacey Osburn.


UPDATE:  Nothing from Ms. Osburn, but Donald Remy issued a statement.

“The U.S. Supreme Court denied both the plaintiffs’ and NCAA’s request to clarify key issues of law affecting the NCAA and other similar organizations. In asking for the review, we hoped the court would take the opportunity to affirm its own 30-year precedent in the Board of Regents antitrust decision and support the appellate court’s now final endorsement of amateur college sports.

While we are disappointed with this decision not to review this case, we remain pleased that the Ninth Circuit agreed with us that amateurism is an essential component of college sports and that NCAA members should not be forced by the courts to provide benefits untethered to education, including providing any payments beyond the full cost of attendance.

We continue to believe, and many other appellate courts have agreed, that the NCAA membership agreements to advance college sports are not violations of the antitrust laws.  We will continue to strongly advance that legal position in other litigation.  Further, the Court’s determination to not hear the case will not deter our members from continuing to provide students with academic opportunities, safeguarding their health and well-being and creating fair policies centered on the student-athlete experience.”

Translation:  full speed ahead on being greedy bastards!


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA

“Some things are worth waiting for.”

It’s always sad when a control freak loses a little control.

A few moments later, host Eli Gold said he didn’t want to mention names, but asked about the current transfer landscape in college football. He asked Saban if it had become like free agency.

“It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think it I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.”

Coming from the guy who bailed on the Miami Dolphins when the going wasn’t to his liking, that’s a bit rich.

But the best part of this is that Blake Barnett, the subject of Saban’s wistful pondering, may have found a loophole in the transfer rules. (h/t)

The assumption from fans, message boards and even national media was that the redshirt freshman would be losing the 2017 season of eligibility regardless of his transfer plans. So, why would he leave now, four games into an undefeated season? With a true freshman starter one hit away from injury, Barnett is still a critical piece of Alabama’s championship equation and he’s being painted as a quitter by critics.

But Barnett has a plan — and it looks a lot like something we’ve seen before in college basketball.

According to bylaw 14.5.6 in the NCAA transfer guide, Barnett as a 4-2-4 transfer (four-year institution, to a junior college, and back to a four-year institution), can be eligible one calendar year from the date of his transfer from Alabama so long as he graduates with a GPA above 2.5 over an average of 12 hours per term at the certifying institution of Barnett’s choosing.

That’s a situation that happens frequently pre- and post-semester. The timing of Barnett’s transfer is what makes him a possible trailblazer: He’d be eligible to play the conference schedule at his next destination.

247Sports reviewed the NCAA transfer guide on Thursday with an FBS compliance source who has first-hand experience and knowledge in placing players from JUCOs, military institutions and other four-year colleges.

“I’ve never seen this situation before first-hand,” the compliance source said. “Because it’s so rare for somebody to leave in the middle of the season.”

It’s worth noting that every person we talk to has slightly different perspectives on the interpretation of this rule. One source with significant experience dealing in junior college transfers believed that Barnett would be eligible immediately in 2017 at a four-year program. Still another source that coaches in the junior college ranks felt that Barnett wouldn’t be able to play at a four-year institution until the 2018 season.

The source who thinks Barnett might have all of 2017 available muses that by leaving Alabama now and arriving at a two-year institution with a mid-term date in mid-October, Barnett would be essentially wiping clean the fall of 2016 at Alabama from his academic record. Consequently, his midterm transfer to a two-year institution would allow him to retroactively start the clock to the beginning of the first semester, thus allowing him to be eligible for the 2017 season with three years remaining to fulfill three years of eligibility.

Honestly, I don’t know if this will work, but you’ve got to admit it’s creative, especially when you consider that he’s leaving a program known under Saban for aggressively pushing the envelope when it comes to NCAA and SEC rules.  If it works, you’d better believe Saban won’t be applauding Barnett’s ingenuity, though.  He’ll be solemnly urging a rule change to shut down future mid-season departures.  It’s in the young men’s best interest, you know.



Filed under Nick Saban Rules, The NCAA

Another day without a comment from Stacey Osburn

This doesn’t sound like a good thing for the NCAA.

A specially presiding senior judge has ordered the NCAA to turn over emails and other communications related to the repeal of Penn State’s sanctions as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by the estate of Joe Paterno.

At issue is whether the NCAA maliciously and unfairly tarnished Paterno’s name and harmed the plaintiffs, which include former assistant coaches Bill Kenney and Paterno’s son, Jay.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013 and seeks punitive damages. The defendants include the NCAA, president Mark Emmert and former executive committee chairman Ed Ray.

According to Judge John Leete’s order, which was filed Monday, the NCAA must turn over communications between board members and administrators and between itself and Penn State officials. Privileged communications are exempt, but the NCAA must provide a privilege log outlining what documents are withheld.

It may be a bullshit lawsuit, but they’re playing on JoePa’s home field, and that’s likely to yield some embarrassing disclosures.

None of this is to excuse what went on, or to say that the school didn’t deserve to be punished for enabling a serial child molester, but when Mark Emmert decided he didn’t need to follow any established guidelines in his pursuit of Penn State, it was pretty much a given that he’d get this kind of reaction.  To mix metaphors, when you break a few eggs to make your omelet, don’t be surprised when some of the chickens come home to roost.


Filed under See You In Court, The NCAA, You Can't Put A Price Tag On Joe Paterno's Legacy

Because, Mark Emmert.

Oh, FFS.

NCAA President Mark Emmert on Thursday expressed a clear desire for the NCAA to have direct power to punish schools and athletes in connection with sexual abuse cases.

Can you imagine what he would have done with the Duke lacrosse scandal?  Or how much the NCAA would have wound up spending to defend and settle the inevitable lawsuit arising from his reaction?

Though I admit watching Emmert go after Ken Starr would have a certain sense of pass the popcorn to it.  But not enough to make this even remotely a good idea.


Filed under The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Plenty to nosh on this morning…


Filed under 'Cock Envy, College Football, Georgia Football, Mike Leach. Yar!, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, The NCAA, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

The NCAA takes a bathroom break.

North Carolina had to know this was coming.

Basketball-crazed North Carolina has lost its next chance to host NCAA men’s basketball tournament games along with several other championship events due to a state law that some say can lead to discrimination against LGBT people.

And the fallout may not be over.

After the NCAA announced it is pulling seven championship events from North Carolina for this year, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford – whose league hosts many sporting events in the state, including its football championship game – said the ACC’s council of presidents were set to discuss the law at a previously scheduled meeting later this week.

Without NCAA cover, you’d expect the ACC to follow in its footsteps.  Banning the ACC basketball tourney from the state, even the watered down version that exists today, is gonna sting.

The cognitive dissonance in the corner of the law’s defenders is about what you’d expect.

Of course, he might be complaining about more than just who’s going to which bathroom with that.

HB2 was signed into law by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory earlier this year. A spokesman with McCrory’s office couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday evening, but a spokeswoman with the state Republican party blasted the NCAA’s decision in a statement, saying it is “so absurd it’s almost comical.”

“I wish the NCAA was this concerned about the women who were raped at Baylor,” spokeswoman Kami Mueller said Monday night.

I bet you do, girl.  It’s probably a coincidence that I can’t find a single other public utterance of your concern about what happened at Baylor.

But now that you mention it, Baylor canned its president, AD and head coach in the wake of its scandal.  What’s North Carolina got to offer to get the NCAA off its back?


Filed under ACC Football, Political Wankery, The NCAA