Category Archives: The NCAA

BREAKING: General Francisco Franco is still dead.

And they’re still taking precautionary measures in Oxford, Mississippi.


Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

“I’d say that education is more valuable than however much money we might give you.”

I’m sure there are plenty of you who share Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins‘ distaste for filthy lucre, at least as far as sharing it with student-athletes.

The president rejects the notion that Notre Dame is morally obliged to share its football revenue with those playing the game. “I don’t think there’s a compulsion or some demand of justice that we do it,” he says.

“Morally obliged”?  Well, he does have Rev. in his title.  What is unclear is why there’s something apparently immoral about paying players, but not, say, the school’s athletic director or head coach.  Or why opting into a system that requires certain compromises in the name of broadcast revenue is immune from such lofty philosophical considerations.

Jenkins is also either a little bit arrogant or delusional in his insistence that Notre Dame would do just fine walking away from all that revenue other parties, like Under Armour and NBC are morally obliged to pay his school.

Finally, there is the pending lawsuit filed against the N.C.A.A. and the Power 5 conferences by the well-known sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, who argues that the value of student-athletes has been illegally capped by athletic scholarships. If he prevails: an open market.

Or, as Father Jenkins puts it: “Armageddon.”

“That’s when we leave,” he says. “We will not tolerate that. Then it really does become a semipro team.”

He believes that the drama and popularity of college athletics are rooted in the fact that the student-athletes are amateurs. “If they make mistakes, you know, it’s not like they’re professionals,” he says.

But if a pay-to-play dynamic is applied to college sports, he suggests, something is lost. “If you go that semipro route, we’ll see,” he says. “But I’m just not sure that we’ll not end up just a second-tier, uninteresting pro league.”

Father Jenkins says that he could see two separate collegiate athletic associations — one following the semiprofessional model, the other dedicated to preserving what he calls “the essential educational character of college athletics.” In belonging to the latter, he says, Notre Dame would be just fine, financially and otherwise.

“If tomorrow you told me, you just can’t do what you want to do in athletics and you’re going to have to shut it down, and we would have club sports, something like that — I don’t think it would significantly impact the revenue,” Father Jenkins says. Some alumni and donors might revolt, he acknowledges. “But just in terms of a financial proposition, I don’t think it would impact the academy.”

Now there’s a level where he’s right about that.  Football generates millions of dollars in profit for ND, but it’s a drop in the bucket in the context of the school’s entire budget, so, yeah, the money wouldn’t be missed.  But that cuts both ways – if he’s so adamant about not sharing the fruits of the players’ labor with them, why even bother with COA stipends, which Notre Dame is already paying?  And why even bother participating in the system now?

I’m sure Brian Kelly would be happy to keep collecting his multi-million dollar annual salary to coach club football.  And everyone would still watch the Irish play what he insists would pass for football.  Go ahead, Rev.  Best of luck with that.


Filed under Notre Dame's Faint Echoes, The NCAA

Don’t they know how fortunate they are?

Spencer Hall’s cri de coeur about student-athlete compensation got a fair amount of buzz yesterday.  I doubt it’s gonna change many hearts and minds – I don’t think it was written with that in mind, honestly – but I don’t see how anyone who thinks the current state of affairs is all good can rebut this part of his argument:

… College students aren’t generally wealthy or in a wealth-building stage of life, sure, but there’s more than a little evidence that student-athletes don’t just tread water for four years, but instead are made significantly poorer by the experience of participating in amateur athletics.

When and if they do receive their degree, it might mean even less in terms of real future dollars than those received by their peers. The networking they might have done with others on campus is restricted by their class schedules and practice; the networking with wealthy alumni that might benefit them in business is explicitly forbidden in many instances, something Princeton’s own Michael Lewis points out in The Blind Side. The athlete receives no dividend or funds kept in trust for their well-above-average financial contributions to the university on graduation.

By rule they are separated from the income they make, and by system they are separated from the university education they were promised. They are neither amateurs nor professionals, and effectively moved as undeclared contraband through the United States tax system.

No man’s land.  And that doesn’t even touch on the physical risks they take suiting up for dear old Football U.

Those of you who are still intoxicated with the romance of the myth of amateurism, I’m almost jealous of you.  My cynicism makes it a little harder for me to love the sport with each year’s passing.


Filed under The NCAA

Willie Martinez takes his medicine.

And, no, it’s not to coach Tennessee’s secondary this week against Oklahoma.

It sounds like ol’ Two Thumbs has a firm grasp of the bump rule.

According to the letter, Martinez was one of several college coaches who were in the football coaches’ office at the high school in question. At one point, Martinez excused himself from the office, and encountered the athlete in question during that period. During Tennessee’s investigation of the incident, the letter said, it was not able to determine the length of the encounter and obtained responses from other coaches present that said the meeting lasted anywhere from 2-3 minutes to 20-30.

Twenty to thirty minutes?  That’s some bump you got there.


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

Now it’s Ole Miss’ turn.

To do the NCAA shuffle, that is.

“As a precautionary measure, we are withholding Laremy Tunsil from today’s game until the pending process can be completed,” Ole Miss said in a pregame statement. “We are cooperating fully with the NCAA and feel this is the best way to protect Laremy, our football program and the university.”

Hey, we Georgia fans can tell you all about precautionary measures.  Based on recent history, if he’s already missed more than a half, it’s probably not good.

In case you’re wondering, Mississippi’s next three games are against Fresno State, Alabama and Vanderbilt.


Filed under SEC Football, The NCAA

“The answer to the problem is not throwing money at it.”

Oh, noes!  College football administrators are in a tizzy again about spending money on student-athletes!

Funny how spending millions on coaching salaries for coaches they no longer employ, overdone facilities and their own effing salaries don’t generate such angst.

Guys, it’s real simple.  If you don’t want to offer COA stipends, don’t.  Otherwise, shut the hell up.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, The NCAA

“If they change this rule so now I can force a kid to stay with me and be my backup, I think that’s just cruel and unusual.”

The thing people – and by that, I mean certain coaches – tend to forget in blasting kids for “taking advantage” of the graduate transfer rule, is that it takes two to tango.  Players who graduate and look to move on still need a dancing partner.

Or to put it another way, “Pass a well-meaning rule, and schools will find a way to bend it.”


Filed under Academics? Academics., The NCAA