Ole Miss strenuously objects.

Well, now, who doesn’t like to watch a school go to war against the NCAA?  I’m not talking about Notre Dame, which strikes me as having valid grounds to criticize the organization’s double standard regarding academic misconduct.

Nah, I’m talking about the SEC’s Rebels without a cause who think they have one.  And they’re pretty belligerent about it.

Ole Miss submitted its written appeal to the NCAA last Monday. The university published the document on Wednesday, and in doing so kept up with its recent aggressive tone toward the Committee on Infractions and its ruling.

“This Committee should vacate and reverse the penalties and factual findings,” the appeal stated, “because the COI abused its discretion, departed from precedent, committed procedural errors, and reached factual conclusions inconsistent with the evidence.”

I’m sure this makes for great posturing with the home folks, but does the school really think anyone at the NCAA is going to be impressed with heated oratory like this?

The Committee on Infractions handed down its ruling to Ole Miss on Dec. 1. In its ruling, the committee essentially determined Ole Miss had an out-of-control booster culture, which spanned decades and cited cases from 1986 and 1994.

The use of cases which were more than two decades old as an aggravating factor bothered Jeff Vitter, Ole Miss’ chancellor, and Ross Bjork, the Rebels’ athletic director, when they addressed the media that day.

The written appeal hit on that point again.

“At what point does an institution get a clean slate in the infractions process? For this COI panel,” the appeal stated, “the answer appears to be ‘never.'”

Um… that’s how patterns over time get established, fellas.

Ole Miss wants an in-person appeal with the Infractions Appeals Committee, presumably because the one thing more persuasive than heated writing is in-your-face arguing.  I’m guessing the NCAA won’t be receptive, but who knows?



Filed under Freeze!, The NCAA

Making ends meet, a translation

If you frequent UGA message boards, or have done so over the years, you’ve probably seen data compiled by the prolific AirForceDawg at some point.  I mention this because he’s put me on the scent of some recent financial data that you might find of interest.

The source for the information is the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Data Analysis (EADA) website.  Visit there, and you can find the relevant financial data, i.e., revenues and expenses, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, for America’s collegiate athletic departments.  As the site itself explains,

This database consists of athletics data that are submitted annually as required by the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA), via a Web-based data collection, by all co-educational postsecondary institutions that receive Title IV funding (i.e., those that participate in federal student aid programs) and that have an intercollegiate athletics program.

For example, here’s a snapshot of UGA athletics expenses:

And here’s one for revenues:

If you can’t make the numbers out, allow me to do the simple math for you.

  • Revenues:  $157,852,479
  • Expenses:  $110,084,458
  • Net:  $47,768,021

In case you’re wondering, football’s net during that period was $56,947,313.  Not exactly what you’d call hard times.  At least if you’re not Greg McGarity.

As far as context goes in the SEC, I’m going to outsource that to AFD, who’s already done the clickwork:

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Revenue:

1. Alabama: $174,305,613
2. Georgia: $157,852,479
3. Auburn: $147,413,201
4. Louisiana State: $146,934,487
5. Florida: $142,545,938
6. Tennessee: $139,659,550
7. South Carolina: $136,032,845
8. Arkansas: $132,172,997
9. Texas A&M: $130,442,544
10. Kentucky: $122,307,014
11. Ole Miss: $101,857,663
12. Missouri: $90,034,258
13. Mississippi State: $89,696,829
14. Vanderbilt: $80,335,651

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Expenses:

1. Alabama: $143,634,940
2. Florida: $137,818,468
3. South Carolina: $135,499,095
4. Louisiana State: $131,722,243
5. Tennessee: $128,944,788
6. Auburn: $125,832,608
7. Texas A&M: $122,615,852
8. Kentucky: $121,688,546
9. Arkansas: $116,112,803
10. Georgia: $110,084,458
11. Ole Miss: $92,908,665
12. Missouri: $90,034,258
13. Mississippi State: $77,773,532
13. Vanderbilt: $69,803,910

FY2017 (i.e., 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017) Athletics Department Profit:

1. Georgia: $47,768,021
2. Alabama: $30,670,673
3. Auburn: $21,580,593
4. Arkansas: $16,060,194
5. Louisiana State: $15,212,244
6. Mississippi State: $11,923,297
7. Vanderbilt: $10,531,741
8. Tennessee: $10,714,762
9. Ole Miss: $8,948,998
10. Texas A&M: $7,826,692
11. Florida: $4,727,470
12. South Carolina: $533,750
13. Kentucky: $618,468
14. Missouri: $0

First in net (or profit, if you’d prefer the term) — and by a wide margin.  That was accomplished by finishing second in revenue and tenth in expenses.

Butts-Mehre has no business pleading poverty these days, but I suspect you knew that already.  My question is, since McGarity loves to trumpet his fiscal responsibility, why hasn’t he been shouting these numbers to the skies?  Could it be that he might have to explain why the athletic department doesn’t seem to prioritize spending as a path to excellence the way nine others of his peers do?

And for those of you who have been critical of me or anyone daring to question Butts-Mehre’s financial tactics, tell me, are you really okay with an ostensibly non-profit organization operating like this?


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

Even moar gap

David Wunderlich shows what a deep, deep hole Dan Mullen has to climb out of on the recruiting front here.

I estimated that UF might have a class with as many as 22 or 23 recruits next year. If it’s 22, they’d need to sign 13 blue chips to get to exactly 50% blue chips signed over a four-year period. Given the composition of this year’s class, that’s doable. If they only sign 20 next year, they’d need to get 12 blue chips. Given that they got 12 blue chips this year with 19 signees, that’s also doable. I suspect most Gator fans would see it as failing to meet expectations if they only sign 12 or 13 blue chips next year given that it won’t be a transitional class anymore.

Merely getting to 50% would still put them a ways behind Georgia, LSU, and FSU, and the blue chips would be most heavily concentrated among first and second-year players. We’re really more looking at 2020 for having a roster with the kind of talent Florida fans expect to see.

I doubt Kirby will be slowing down over the next two years, either.


Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

Promises, promises

Well, unless they need to run a quasi-scam on season ticket holders eager to buy SECCG tickets.  Again.


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Thursday morning buffet

I haven’t taken the chafing dishes out in a while, so here goes…


Filed under Big Ten Football, Blowing Smoke, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

“For these reasons, I am somewhat skeptical about their explanations.”

If you’re Greg McGarity, the problem with telling a journalist in an interview about the ticket price increase that “We had to do this to make ends meet,” is that you run the risk of said journalist doing his job to find out whether that’s actually the case.

It begged the question: Is that actually true? Did Georgia have to raise ticket prices to make budget?

DawgNation undertook an examination of the finances of the UGA athletics department, using available data, information gathered over the past year and insight from an independent financial analyst.

If you honestly have to ask what the analyst concluded, you haven’t been reading this blog often enough.

Oh, okay.  I know the suspense is killing you.

The irony is that any financial risk faced by UGA athletics linked to its football program is now even lower than ever, which would make any such purely voluntary ’emergency fund’ even less needed than before.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.  I’m shocked, shocked, to hear that.  But what about McGarity’s prior excuse for an $80 million reserve fund — the green umbrella for that rainy day that never seems to come?

Last year, in defending the reserve fund, McGarity said it was a “rainy day fund.” He listed a number of possibilities to plan for, just in case. But when presented with increased costs in coaching salaries this year, Georgia athletic leadership did not dip into the reserve fund. They chose to raise ticket prices…

Maybe the rainy day fund needs its own rainy day fund.

In Georgia’s case, it’s the coming raises for Smart and his staff that have yet to be revealed. Publicly, they may be the reason for raising ticket prices. But Seaman said he suspects the real reason is simple economics.

“Since nonprofit organizations often behave quite similarly to for-profit firms, even given their legal requirement of not distributing any ‘profits’ to ‘owners’,” Seaman said, “this UGA behavior is quite consistent with standard profit-maximizing behavior in response to demand increases.”

Seaman doesn’t explain why McGarity isn’t capable of being straight about that, but I’m pretty sure we don’t really need any special insight there.


Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

The cost of new and improved

I give Greg McElroy a lot of credit for saying this about the college football attendance drop:

“We are paying less and less attention to the schools that are not in contention,” the former Alabama quarterback said. “I would love to know, on a minute-by-minute basis, the comparison between the 10 teams that we discuss as having a chance at the College Football Playoff on this radio program. And, look, it’s not our fault. We go where the callers want to go. Where do we spend the majority of our time? We spend it on 10, maybe 15 teams. Maybe 20. Because it’s a caller-driven show and calls are most likely going to be on teams who are in contention for the College Football Playoff.

“The teams that aren’t, it feels like they don’t matter. It’s not really true, but people aren’t willing to spend their last dollar to go to a game. Ticket prices are expensive, concessions are expensive, and now you get an incredible experience watching it on your television screen. If your team is in contention for the playoff, you feel like you have to go: ‘I’m gonna go, I’ve gotta see them. This could be my only chance to see a national championship team, of course I’m going to go see them.’ So, they spend their last dollar trying to go to those games. Why do you think Bama was top-4 in attendance this year? It has to do with the stadium, sure, but it’s also because Bama is crazy about football. So, I do think if you’re in contention for the College Football Playoff, you’re going to get more attention and people are going to spend more money on you. If you’re not in contention, people would just assume say ‘Hey, I’ll watch ’em on TV. I’ll watch ’em on the SEC Network.’”

This is the price you pay for kissing ESPN’s ring, for taking Mickey’s money.  Because when ESPN decides it is in college football’s interest — meaning it’s in ESPN’s interest — to shift from its traditional regional appeal to a broader, national audience, this is what you get.  The conferences, the joy of college football for college football’s sake is diminished in a reach to attract more fans who are less passionate about the sport.  The result is an emphasis on the playoffs and a de-emphasis on what used to matter to the typical fan of a conference program.

For now, it’s not hitting us because Georgia is in the thick of things.  But McElroy’s making a lot of sense with regard to the bigger picture.  Given that Mickey signs his paycheck, it’s even a little brave on his part.  Not that anybody’s going to do anything about it.


Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil