Category Archives: The NCAA

A viral sensation and a random thought

Amidst the chatter about Rodrigo Blankenship’s dad’s grumbling about the family finances in the absence of a full scholarship for his son, perhaps it’s worth considering how Blankenship would be able to capitalize commercially on his new-found image if he were anyone in America other than an NCAA student-athlete.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA

“… I’m here to play, I’m not here to go to school.”

So, Ben Simmons says the obvious…

“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said on “One and Done,” a film that will air on Showtime on Friday night. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

… and Mark Emmert interprets that as an attack on the NBA.  No, really.

“I was reading today where someone who played basketball at LSU was very unhappy with the one-and-done rule,” said Emmert, speaking Wednesday at LSU’s inaugural Sports Communication Summit at the Manship School of Mass Communication. “That’s not our rule. That’s the NBA’s rule. But (he says) it’s another stupid NCAA rule.”

Emmert said he agrees with Simmons, who was quoted in a documentary about him airing Friday on Showtime saying he felt he wasted his time in college because he didn’t have any time to work toward a degree, to a point.

“The one-and-done rule is something I’ve made no secret about how much I dislike it,” Emmert said. “It makes a farce of going to school. But if you just want to play in the NBA, you can do that. You can go to Europe or play at a prep school until you’re 19.

“I’d love nothing more than for the NBA to get rid of that rule. We’ve made it really clear to the (NBA) players union and the leadership of the NBA that we very much would like it changed.”

I’m sure you would, boss.  But the NBA isn’t in the business of managing your labor standards for you.

“If someone wants to be a pro basketball player and doesn’t want to go to college, don’t go to college,” he said. “We don’t put a gun to your head. First and foremost, it’s about being a student at a university. We’re in the human development business.

“If I wanted to hire someone to play football, why would I hire a 17-year-old (out of high school)?” Emmert asked. “Why wouldn’t I hire someone who just finished playing in the NFL or the CFL? If you want to hire a team, hire a team.

“Those kids have to be students. Philosophically, they have to be representatives of the university, so what we can and should be doing, which what we are doing today, is provide them with everything they possibly need to make them successful students and athletes.”

Well, plus put them in position to make lots of money for schools and Emmert’s organization.

You don’t care?  Then why was Simmons offered a scholarship at LSU in the first place?

Every time Mark Emmert speaks, an angel throws up.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

Urban Meyer asks, “what about the children?”

When it comes to a proposed early signing period, let no one say Corch’s heart isn’t in the right place.

“I hear the reasoning is because there’s so many de-commitments,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said in September about early signing periods before the Division I Council passed the oversight committee’s proposal in early October. “So because 17-year-olds are de-commiting, let’s give them a legal document so they can’t de-commit. That’s not very smart. Young people have a right to choose where they want to go to school. Period. Let them de-commit 100 times.”

Urbs may have heard that reasoning, but apparently he hasn’t heard the facts.

De-commitments and flip-flopping by highly touted recruits gets a lot of attention, but it is still relatively uncommon. The survey showed 82 percent of football signees verbally committed prior to signing. Of those, 90 percent signed where they committed.

Pesky things, those facts.

Of 55 NCAA sports, football is one of four that does not have an early signing period.

According to the NCAA, 25,316 Division I student-athletes signed a national letter of intent in 2015-16. Of those, 18,103 had the opportunity to sign early and about 66 percent did.

“Why are we treating football players different from all the other students that come to us?” Eichorst said. “There’s no good answer for that.”

Good question, but I’ve got a better one.  If the NCAA is so concerned about transparency, why not give kids and their parents the right to consult with a legal advisor before signing a national letter of intent, so they might have the opportunity to know what they’re getting into before they sign?

Hey, maybe you can have too much transparency.  Eh, maybe Corch and Saban are playing bad cop to the NCAA’s good cop here.  I mean, let’s not forget this little drop:  “And what we constantly hear from our coaches and others is often times I spend more time recruiting my next class than coaching my current.” 

Then again, maybe it’s just about protecting the lazier recruiters.

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Filed under Recruiting, The NCAA

Adventures in amateurism: if only the players would behave more like fans

Really, this is a perfect reaction to Nigel Hayes.  If you’re someone who thinks every college player is just like them, that is.

“For, me, personally, I think it’s totally bandwagonning,” Escamilla said of Hayes. “I think if he really thought this through, I think he would’ve done it (earlier). Everybody knows it’s been going on for, what, two, three years now?

“I think, personally, I feel it’s going to take away the focus of the team. I just think he should be worried about the season, and everything else tied to the season. If something happened to his family, I could kind of relate. But they should focus on the season at hand.”

Yes, yes, everyone knows these kids can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.  And obviously, other Wisconsin players will lose their focus because their star player has an opinion that fans don’t share.

Why can’t these players just shut up and do their damned job?

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Filed under The NCAA

You want violations? Ole Miss will give you violations.

How bad are the NCAA compliance issues plaguing Ole Miss?  This bad:

In order to resolve the women’s track and women’s basketball violations efficiently, the panel separated the case earlier this year when new potential allegations came to light in the football program, which required further investigation. The panel did not and will not review any information related to the football program until the university and enforcement staff have completed the investigation. The NCAA will not comment further on the status of the ongoing investigation.

In other words, there’s so much shit happening in Oxford, the NCAA had to split it into two separate investigations, because there was too much for them to handle in just one.

You know, maybe this is a fiendishly clever plot by the Rebels — have so much going on in minor programs that the NCAA never has the time to deal with football.  Brilliant!

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Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

‘If you want me, then sign me.’

Nick Saban ain’t happy about the proposed early signing periods.  Nope, not one bit.

On Wednesday the NCAA Division I Council proposed two early signing periods for football, with the first in late June and the second in mid-December.

Alabama coach Nick Saban was quick to voice his opinion Wednesday evening after practice.

“I am absolutely, positively against any kind of early signing date, especially a June signing date before a guy plays his senior year,” Saban said in a news conference. “If we want to have an early signing date after the season, I would be more for that. We’ve moved the recruiting calendar forward, which creates a lot of issues and problems when it comes to evaluations, not only of a player but of his character and his academic status.”

I’m not sure that having sufficient time for character evaluation is a place you should be going, brother.  You had plenty of that to assess Jonathan Taylor’s character, but couldn’t even find the time to speak with folks like the district attorney who handled Taylor’s case… or Mark Richt, for that matter.  But I digress.

Because that’s not really what’s got Saban’s ass chapped here.

“From a high school coach’s standpoint, what is really the guy’s motivation to play and really work hard to get better to play for his team in his senior year?”

Uh, no, that’s not it either, Nick.  Try again.

Saban said the Crimson Tide may not have signed freshman tailback Joshua Jacobs had an early signing period been in place last year. Jacobs, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder from Tulsa, Okla., played in only six games as a junior at McClain High School due to injury but blossomed as a senior, rushing for 2,704 yards and an eye-popping 15.1 yards per carry.

Jacobs rushed 16 times for 100 yards in last Saturday’s 34-6 win over Kentucky.

“We probably would have been full, and that is what I am talking about,” Saban said. “We would probably make some academic, character and maybe evaluation mistakes, because you aren’t even seeing a guy play during his senior season.

Ah, now we’re getting warmer.  Can’t let those late bloomers fall through the cracks; those missed opportunities can be real killers, amirite?  But let’s face it, people — what school has better resources than Alabama to evaluate players, even early on?

So, it still feels like we’re missing something else here.  What could it be?

The SEC has been one of the most vocal opponents of an early signing period in the past, but a conference coach admitted he has come around to the idea and says he thinks it will even benefit the recruits.

“I love the idea now,” he said. “I think it’ll finally make schools think twice about offering kids early with no plan of taking their commitment. If they really want them, they’re going to have to sign them now. That’ll help a recruit truly tell if they’re wanted by that school… “

Congratulations, Holmes, you’ve cracked the case!  Saban wouldn’t be able to bookmark recruits with things like contingent offers or offers made in a kid’s sophomore season.  Instead, he’d have to spend time convincing rising seniors not to commit elsewhere early, so that he would have the full opportunity to decide whether it’s worth extending a binding offer.  Even for Alabama, that’s a tougher sell.

Figure on plenty more angst to come on how early signing periods are bad for the kids.  After all, that’s how these guys roll.

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Filed under Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting, The NCAA

“In some ways, the public sees NCAA enforcement as a paper tiger…”

So, Jim Delany and others, fretting about NCAA enforcement, have come up with a whole raft of ideas to put more bite with the bark, so to speak, but the schools don’t seem particularly enthusiastic about his proposals.  As Jon Solomon puts it,

Here’s the reality about NCAA investigations and penalties: Every school wants this thankless job to happen — until the finger gets pointed at them.

So Big Jim is frustrated nobody’s embracing his genius.

If I may be so bold as to offer a solution to his problem:  name Greg McGarity as college football’s director of NCAA compliance.  He’ll make sure every school falls all over itself the minute an investigator comes knocking.  Problem solved!  Not to mention it would have the added benefit of letting Georgia operate on a level playing field.  A true win-win…

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Filed under Georgia Football, The NCAA