Category Archives: The NCAA

“Deregulating the feeding of the student-athletes”

I thought the dumbest thing about the NCAA’s arcane food rules was the bagel topping nonsense.

It’s the NCAA; I should have known better.

“Not many kids growing up in Texas eat a bagel in the morning with nothing on it,” said University of Texas sports dietician Amy Culp.

It wasn’t that three meals wasn’t enough. It was that the athletes’ packed schedules often had them missing one or several of the dining hall time frames each day. The NCAA allowed one “training table” — a meal specifically geared for athletes — per day, but if a player had a class then he missed that window for the biggest meal of the day. When players missed their meals, they had to use money from their living stipend to find something on their own, which often resulted in bad decisions like fast food or pizza, like any college student would do.

The more often players had to use their own money, the less they had to do other things.

Stupid me, thinking the NCAA was aware student-athletes have to go to class.  D’oh!

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The NCAA and the “VP of Common Sense”

Andy Staples has a piece up today about amending the NCAA transfer rules.  I’m not saying I agree with everything he pushes in it, but this part made me think he’s definitely on to something:

The athletic director at the previous school signs a form allowing the transferring player to play immediately.

That’s it. If the coach and athletic director at the previous school don’t care if the player contributes to his/her new team right away, why should anyone else?

If this rule was in place now, there would be no confusion about Harding’s situation. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs and coach Gus Malzahn are human beings with functioning hearts, and neither would object to letting Harding play in 2015.

Had this rule been in place in 2012, receiver Justin McCay would have been allowed to play immediately after transferring from Oklahoma to Kansas. The NCAA denied McCay’s request for a waiver even though Sooners athletic director Joe Castiglione went to bat for McCay and requested that he be able to play immediately…

All of which makes me wonder exactly why the NCAA is in the transfer rules business in the first place.  I mean, if transfers are a matter of competitive balance, or however else you want to describe putting the brakes on kids jumping from one program to another, then in the case of a specific student-athlete, why should it be a matter of concern for the NCAA to be involved?  Doesn’t Staples’ hypothetical example make more sense?

If a hypothetical Georgia football player wants to transfer, he would request a release from his scholarship. If he decided to go to Maryland, the Terrapins could offer him a scholarship if they had one available. If the player wanted to transfer for dubious reasons, Bulldogs AD Greg McGarity could do nothing and the player would sit a year. There would be no appeal process because the only “penalty” is an extra year of free school. If the player wanted to transfer for a good reason, McGarity could waive the year-in-residence requirement and the player could suit up immediately.

That’s not exactly a rhetorical question.  I don’t know the origins of the NCAA rule, but I suspect nowadays it’s a handy place for a weaseling AD or head coach to hide instead of coming out directly to validate a decision blocking a student-athlete’s departure.  That’s hardly justification for screwing over Khari Harding’s family.

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The death knell of amateurism?

Honestly, in my lifetime, I can’t recall an US President as interested in the framework of college athletics as the current occupant of the White House.  Yeah, I remember Nixon being heavily into football, but not about, say, whether college football should have a playoff.  Or what the future may hold for a sport having a serious problem with concussions.  Or chest bumping with Trooper Taylor

But I digress.

The latest foray into college athletics by the Kenyan Marxist Usurper is in the area of – gasp!amateurism.

Weighing in on the growing debate over amateurism in college sports, President Barack Obama said on Friday that universities bear “more responsibilities than right now they’re showing” toward their athletes and that the NCAA should require schools to guarantee athletic scholarships with no strings attached.

“[T]he students need to be taken better care of because they are generating a lot of revenue here,” Obama told The Huffington Post in a sit-down interview. “An immediate step that the NCAA could take — that some conferences have already taken — is if you offer a scholarship to a kid coming into school, that scholarship sticks, no matter what.”

“It doesn’t matter whether they get cut, it doesn’t matter whether they get hurt,” the president went on. “You are now entering into a bargain and responsible for them.”

Ordinarily, I would expect this to provoke immediate catcalls on the right (it wouldn’t be the first time), except Obama had to go and complicate things by saying this:

He stopped short of saying that it was time to pay collegiate athletes or that they should have the right to unionize — a possibility now under consideration by his appointees to the National Labor Relations Board.

“In terms of compensation, I think the challenge would just then start being, do we really want to just create a situation where there are bidding wars?” Obama asked. “How much does a Anthony Davis get paid as opposed to somebody else? And that I do think would ruin the sense of college sports.”

Mark Emmert just pumped his fist.

Needless to say, I disagree.  Further, I have no idea where the President is going with this thought.

“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said. “That’s not fair.”

Emmert just put his hand back in his pocket.  I’m using mine to scratch my head.

Why does everyone have such a hard time with this?  Is a free market for all that hard a concept to grasp?

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Filed under Political Wankery, The NCAA

No frickin’ shame

As much as we tend to rant about the NCAA in these parts, you can’t lay all the blame for what sucks about collegiate athletics on its doorstep.  I mean, there’s a 94-page report it issued on a number of serious infractions committed over an eight-year period at Syracuse…

In its report, the NCAA placed Syracuse on probation for five years for breaking with the “most fundamental core values of the NCAA.” Athletic department officials interfered with academics, making sure star players stayed eligible, the report said.

… concerning a program that’s been severely penalized before, whose coach harbored and defended a pedophile on his staff, and what’s the school’s response?

He’s getting three more years to coach there.  I guess that’s what being “the embodiment of Orange pride” gets you.

If there’s a message there beyond just win, baby, I’m not hearing it.  Maybe somebody from North Carolina can explain it to me.

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Today, in your daily dose of NCAA help

Very quietly, the NCAA has moved to change its transfer waiver ruleBrian Cook explains the background for that:

Why make the change? In recent years more and more players had been trying to get transfer waivers for increasingly dubious reasons. It was getting ridiculous, and threatened to create more of an open market for transfers than there was before. (You may think that’s a good idea; the NCAA does not.)

Instead the NCAA will offer a one-year extension of the five year clock* in circumstances that warrant it. IE: if you’ve already redshirted you can make a hardship transfer without losing a year of competition.

All of which should offer great comfort to Khari Harding and his family.

You know, it’s still amazing to me that an organization that spent years crafting arcane limits on bagel toppings and has a rule book for which complex as a description is almost an understatement can’t roll up its sleeves and spend some time and effort crafting a protocol that actually benefits student-athletes instead of simply being done to make life easier for itself.

Okay, okay…  somewhat amazing to me.  Geez.

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“We define what pay constitutes.”

Pretty lively debate at the oral arguments for the O’Bannon appeal yesterday.  The panel hearing them seemed pretty up to speed on the issues, and of course it’s impossible to say how their ruling will turn out.  But it sounds like most observers drew two conclusions from the day’s results:

“But an even bigger issue is antitrust injury,” Carrier said. “The panel did not want to rely on the appearance of NIL rights in the contracts to assume that such rights existed. I didn’t think this was a big issue before argument but there now seems to be a chance that the NCAA can win on this issue.

“What the plaintiffs can take solace in is that amateurism as a defense was not resuscitated in argument. Even if it doesn’t form the foundation for a significant remedy in this case, future cases such as Alston and Jenkins would benefit significantly if the NCAA cannot use the defense.”

Should that be the way the appeal goes, that’s a win the battle, lose the war scenario for the NCAA:  no damages, but amateurism as a defensible stance put down.  Hausfield might be unhappy with that result, but Jeffrey Kessler sure wouldn’t be.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, See You In Court, The NCAA

“The most important bill of the session, is it not?”

I haven’t said much about the Todd Gurley bill, the one that would criminalize people who lead college athletes into behavior that jeopardizes their NCAA eligibility, winding its way through the Georgia legislature because:

  1. I have a natural antipathy towards knee-jerk legislation that’s crafted in response to something that happened to a specific person.  (“Numbered House Bill 3 to reflect Bulldog’s jersey number…”)
  2. It’s unlikely to pass in the Senate.
  3. It’s a really stupid idea.

Doubt me on the stupid?  Let the bill’s author explain.

“The individual who enticed him to sell his autograph was not punished, and that is the reason for this bill,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem.

A 2003 law allows colleges to sue one of their own alumni whose actions harm the whole school’s eligibility, but that didn’t cover the Gurley situation.

“We punish the person who sells alcohol to minors as well as the person who buys the alcohol,” Fleming said, arguing the buyer of the autographs should have been punished the way Gurley was with the four-game suspension he served during the fall.

Nice analogy.  Evidently nobody has bothered to point out to Rep. Fleming that the NCAA’s rules aren’t codified criminal law in this country.  Although I’m sure Mark Emmert wouldn’t mind if some legislative body out there wanted to make the attempt.

Oh, and as far as punishing somebody “the way Gurley was”, Fleming’s bill imposes a $25,000 fine and jail time on somebody who is doing nothing more than engaging in normal commerce.  And by normal commerce, I mean doing something that with any person on the planet other than a college student-athlete wouldn’t raise an eyebrow.  You know, that whole free enterprise thing that we love to sing praises to here.

Fleming’s a Georgia grad, natch, so I’m sure this will stand him in good stead at whatever tailgates he attends.  But it’s a really dumb stunt.

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Filed under Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Political Wankery, The NCAA