I did not make this headline up
Buy or throw at, your choice. Attention State College persons/bloggers: I'm going to be in your neck of the woods next weekend, as the GF attends a food studies conference. (The last one was in New Orleans, which seemed more logical, no offense.) She is going to busy talking about Foucault and whatnot; I am going to be bored and possibly forbidden from doing any sort of daytime activities. This is your opportunity to discuss Big Ten refereeing with an actual Michigan fan.
Correction. Yesterday I asserted that club varsity teams had it made. Unfortunately, this was so vastly wrong I received two responses that explained just how vastly wrong I was. Picking the first to arrive in the inbox:
I thought you might want to know a little info about our team and I can clear up the term "varsity-club" a little bit. For our team, each player pays dues of $3,500 per year. Our annual budget is over $500,000, this is more than almost all of the big time Division 1 programs (much more when you consider we don't provide scholarships). The University provides $20,000 a year to us. The rest is made up through our dues, fundraising, and sponsorships. I can't give specifics in regards to the other varsity-club teams here, but I know that they pay dues and not much is free.
-David Reinhard, #20
These are men who love their lacrosse. For more on the club varsity status and what it takes to remove "club" from it, see this Daily article from a couple years ago that focuses on the lacrosse team. I assume they're on top of the list for addition given their success and the sudden, permanent availability of Oosterbaan, but that any varsity additions will be put off until the stadium renovation starts gushing cash.
It will not die. Big Ten meetings have just gone down, causing a minor deluge of weird content. It's time for the annual fruitless discussion of a ninth conference game:
"We talk about that at every meeting," said Michigan athletic director Bill Martin, who added that the drive for nine is getting more support. "As the guarantees [for nonconference games] go up and up and up and the fans want to play our sister institutions in the conference, to me it's a no-brainer. Play 'em."
Martin has been leading the charge on this since it came up, FWIW, which is an indication the athletic department is not happy with the current state nonconference scheduling. So there's that.
This discussion is such a zombie that I mentioned it "would not die" the last time it came up; I still fail to see how the league can get away with having one team play only eight conference games while everyone else has nine. This haphazard system was the best I could do in February:
All league schedules are set just like they are now with the exception of one particular week. This week is kept clear until the previous season ends. The last place team in the league gets matched with a pre-arranged MAC opponent. They probably wouldn't mind, as they would have an easier path to bowl eligibility.
At this point you have ten teams in two groups:
- 2 teams not scheduled to play the last-place team.
- 8 teams with the last place team on the schedule.
The group of two have one and only one available option for their ninth game and get matched up with that option. The other six (or eight) teams get randomly matched up with one of the two teams they miss, with an emphasis on 1) variety and 2) fairly balancing home and away.
At that point you're hoping there are no worst-to-first miracles, which is an uncomfortable spot to be in. Would that work? I kind of think it might. I have doubts you could get enough schools on board to get it approved.
More interesting and more plausible. The Big Ten has talked about moving up the window during which you can go on official visits:
Zook and several of his Big Ten colleagues are discussing whether football recruits should be allowed to take official visits during June or even May of their junior years. Recruits currently cannot make official visits until after the first day of classes during their senior year.
"What's happening is these kids are making a lot of unofficial visits, which they're having to pay for," Zook said Wednesday. "Some of them quite frankly can't afford it. So you're helping that way as well."
I'm on board with this; who cares when an official visit is, within reason? It would help the Big Ten recruit distant prospects: last year LA WR Kenny Bell seemed interested in Michigan and planned a visit that fell through because his family couldn't afford it. He ended up signing with LSU. Also, I'd rather bring a kid from sweltering August mosquito death into a pleasant Michigan summer than go from pleasant southern winter to 20 and snowy.
Maybe that's why Rittenberg mentions other conferences' desire to shove officials all the way back to December, which what?
Yes, they can read. Unless you're a South Florida fan, and even then most of them can read. Wisconsin just got hit with a decommit from spectacularly-named safety Vander Blue. The predictable result:
“Just to see how these so-called Wisconsin fans, what they had to say on those blogs,” he said, “it really made me second-guess: Do people really want me here?
“Because I know if I was a fan and I heard about a recruit I’d be more like: ‘What can we do to help him? And not: ‘Let’s make him feel like the worst person in Madison right now.’"
Point for Blue. Also I'm willing to bet 99% of the flaming came from Scout/Rivals/newspaper message boards and not blogs simply because there is no Wisconsin blog of note. The SBNation blog—which I guess is the closest thing—has a grand total of zero comments on three Blue stories.
Originally Posted: Sun, 1 Mar 03:26 EST
The Streaker Tripper - m4w
Date: 2009-03-01, 3:26AM EST
I was streaking through the Diag Friday night at 2:15 am. Coming around the corner of State and Liberty, fast as a naked blur, I bumped into you and we both fell to the ground. I was a little upset with you at first, cuz I scratched my right butt cheek pretty bad, but I knew it was my fault. You said, "Nice New Balances," And all I could say was, "Thanks," with the adrenaline still rushing. In less awkward circumstances, I would have liked to talk to you. I had never run into a girl that fast or naked before... I didn't know how to respond so I helped you up quickly and kept running. Since my friends paid me $100 for making it to Kerrytown with just my socks, shoes, and a big smile, I'd like to take you on a date. You looked pretty fit so maybe you'd like to go for a run sometime. Hit me up! Bye!
* Location: Corner State+Lib
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
As the OP states: please, no discussion of current or former defensive linemen.
I was wondering if you follow the Director's Cup at all and if you think Michigan should expand its number of varsity teams (even though only 10 are counted for each gender in the standings). Stanford has dominated the cup basically since its inception, then followed by UCLA. In third place I would put either Michigan or North Carolina, followed by Texas and Florida.
Michigan seems to have a budget surplus every year and there are a few possible teams that could really make an impact (Men's Rowing and Women's Lacrosse). I am not sure how funding of varsity club teams works, but I once heard students have to pay to play on those teams (although that may only be true for club teams like Rugby). If that is true for varsity club teams, then with funding the students on those teams wouldn't have to worry about financial issues and have the potential to be better.
I realize the budget surplus helps with the renovations and that the smaller sports are not money makers, but it would be nice to see Michigan compete with Stanford for the title, even though it really doesn't mean much. Your thoughts please.
I found this article on MGoBlue.com about club varsity status from Sept. 2000.
On "club varsity": I believe the point of the status is to officially support those teams so that participants don't have to pay. Michigan is basically running a well-supported D-III varsity program. In fact, all club teams get some level of financial support from the U, though in the case of things like synchronized swimming it's not much. (I had a friend on the team.)
As far as the personal value of the Director's Cup to me: it doesn't have much. There's a certain brand of college football fan also that really likes soccer—especially the international variety—and I'm a part of this group, as is Orson Swindle. What do soccer and college football have in common? Infrequent competition, unfairness, insane fans, and life-and-death hanging over every moment. Gunmetal gray skies and the clash of civilizations. The sort of emotion that makes non-sports fans recoil in genuine horror instead of that mock NPR stuff.
My fandom is heavily dependent on the crazed excess of others, with a few exceptions: baseball is often just sitting outside in nice weather eating peanuts and requires little onfield motivation to enjoy, and that sort of stuff.
When the Director's Cup standings come out and Michigan is high up in them but not #1, I make some vague mention of it and go on with things. I mean no offense to the various athletes that compete in sports where parents make up a significant portion of the viewing public, but I just don't get into it that much. I'd rather Michigan focus its effort and money on sports that promise to build a fanbase, which they've been doing by renovating the Fish and building an actual soccer stadium.
In this downtime of UM sports, I assume you get 10 questions a day about this topic. By the looks of your last 4-5 mailbag posts, I bet I am on target.
Anyway, I was never good at math so maybe you can crunch the numbers and tell me what a terrible idea this is…
What is the net profit of 1 home game against Nobody U? Revenue is easy – 100K or so times $50 or 5M. Then tack on parking, concessions, etc. But then factor out costs. I wonder what the net comes out to be…
If I was Bill Martin, I would then say we make XXM on our 8th home game. Let’s say it’s 8M. Could be totally wrong – who knows. Then, say to all of the alumni/fans/etc. – “OK you want a quality road game, have the season ticket holders cough up an additional XX per game and jack concessions up by XX% to get him there. I know I would pay an extra $100 or so total not to have a UMass or Toledo ticket in hand and instead watch UM play at say Georgia.
A back of the envelope calculation:
Two games against Delaware State:
100k times 50 bucks is 5.5 million, minus about 500k that the visiting school gets paid. Random guess as to ancillaries – costs: 1 million, bringing the gate to around 12 M.
Two games against Georgia:
0 from the Georgia game but an extra half-million from the home game, so 6.5 M. There would also be incrementally increased TV revenue but, frustratingly, in the Big Ten all TV revenue is split, even nonconference games.
So you're looking at around a $55 surcharge to bring a big opponent to down. It would probably be somewhat less than that since Delaware State games don't bring the sort of excitement a big nonconference opponent would, which would help sell suites and the like, especially in years when Michigan has ND/PSU/OSU on the road and the big home game is Michigan State.
The TV revenue is a killer: since it's split, you're giving 90% of the benefit of your real opponent to Indiana and their matchup with Murray State. If there was a way around this, you'd have to think it would be worth a couple million for a big game when there's little else to show. ESPN should start making multi-million dollar donations to scholarship funds.
Would I do a $55 surcharge? Yeah, probably. Would I do $25? Absolutely.
This was on the long-ago post about Rodriguez offering like a maniac:
Interesting read. However, I'd say that while you never like to see a Coach make an offer to a player and then for one reason or another and in one way or another, back off/rescind that offer, it works both ways.
What happens with the recruits who verbal to a school and then rescind that verbal? I'm sure there might be others but Beaver is the first one that comes to mind. RR thought he had his two QB recruits all sewed up, only to find out in December that Beaver was switching his verbal. Luckily, he was able to scramble and land Robinson, but if Beaver had said 'no thanks' earlier maybe RR would have targeted and gotten a higher rated QB (not that Robinson is awful).
Like you, I hope RR doesn't make it a habit of offering scholarships, getting a verbal and then in one or another pulling that offer, but unfortunately, it's probably going to happen on occasion.
It doesn't really work both ways in game theory terms. Since universities have to recruit year after year the sort of scholarship sleight-of-hand that seems necessitated by this flood of offers has the potential to damage your reputation and hurt your ability to acquire players. Individual players' reputations might be hurt by a sudden decommit—I for one don't think much of Beaver—but that doesn't hurt their ability to do anything except be friends with certain people he doesn't know.
I'm all for Rodriguez keeping his options open after receiving a commitment, as he did with Tate Forcier despite two "commitments" from other quarterbacks, in case one or the other falls through. And if there are a few players Michigan has recruited and later realize they've made a mistake on, it's probably best for both parties if Michigan communicates that, whether it's directly or not. Better to know before you sign a LOI.
But like the Saban thing, the sheer numbers suggest that sooner or later there's going to be some ticked off recruits.
Dr. Z, out and about. I made mention of this when Paul Zimmerman suffered a series of debilitating strokes, but it bears mentioning again: Zimmerman was a formative influence on yrs truly. His crotchety, detail-obsessed, no-bullshit work was the spiritual predecessor of UFR and this blog's desire to find a number that corroborates any belief it happens to have. In my first heady years of broadband internet I absorbed every word he wrote for what was then CNNSI.com. A couple years ago I bought a used copy of "The New Thinking Man's Guide To Pro Football" and—this is unusual when it comes to sports books for me—read it.
So the stroke was pretty harsh, and it's good that Zimmerman is both alive and mobile but tragic that the strokes have left him bereft of the thing that was his stock and trade:
The e-mails suddenly stopped last autumn. Zimmerman, better known to the readers of Sports Illustrated as "Dr. Z," suffered a series of strokes that left him unable to speak or write.
There was a fundraiser for Dr. Z a few days ago that endeavors to get him in an expensive, specialized program that might restore his ability to do these things. It's at a place you might be familiar with:
The event, along with an online memorabilia auction, is expected to raise more than $125,000 to help offset the costs of a six-week immersion program at the University of Michigan. Most of the treatment, aimed at getting Zimmerman behind a keyboard again, is not covered by insurance.
Again: I hope he makes it back.
That's a zinger. As you might imagine, Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician is intimately familiar with the various nonsensical utterances of Greg Robinson and enjoys them in a fashion that has only recently ceased to be ironic. So of course it caught this gem from a long fluff piece in the Free Press:
"In his mind, [Troy Woolfolk] saw himself paddling uphill with two real good corners playing ahead of him...All of the sudden he had the opportunity to compete for a starting job and he took to it like a duck to water.”
Yes, our defensive coordinator just accused someone of paddling uphill.
Also of note is Robinson's wholly unique approach to defense. He likes aggression. Desmond Howard:
He told me he's going to have his defense as an aggressive defense, a defense that's going to keep pressure on quarterbacks so they can never get comfortable.
I can tell you that in my ten thousand years covering college football I have never heard a defensive coordinator suggest he would be anything other than a piteous mewling fraidy-cat, and this new "aggressive" mantra both thrills and frightens me, like the opportunity to make out with Paris Hilton.
But wait! There's more! Robinson's philosophical inspiration appears to be the comments section/message board on this very blog. Howard again:
Remember that little fishbowl that your teacher used to have on her desk with the goldfish in it? Imagine 11 piranhas in that thing. It's like a frenzy.
Imagine 11 "douchey" MGoBlog posters in that thing: dead quarterbacks. Opponents averaging 20 yards per game. Meticulously spelled and punctuated game recaps. Let's get to it. (NOTE TO ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT: I expect a Rose Bowl ring out of this.)
Upon this, we can all agree. This is treading dangerously close to politics, which is verboten in this place, so let this not suggest any opinion one way or the other about abortion. On this subject, I believe exactly what you believe.
But one thing we can all agree on is that Notre Dame is a strange island in the sea of time populated mostly by strange bitter short insecure impolite people and one enormous mofo who may be Sam Young but probably isn't and seems pretty cool:
Sitting president makes the gesture of providing a commencement speech, is extremely gracious and polite, and gets spittle flecked on him and booed. It's a cult, I say.
Etc.: College Game Balls gets all mathematical with nonconference schedules. The Pac-10 wins handily, and that's without considering the fact that their fourth "nonconference" game is an average Pac-10 team instead of Delaware State. The Weis-record-omission thing? Eh… overblown.
1) The site is enduring some server issues that occasionally result in the White Screen of Death. This is… well… it's white. And there's nothing else. If this happens it is not your fault. Hopefully the server issues are resolved in the next couple days.
2) I have a new home at The Sporting Blog, which is where This Week In Schadenfreude will go; I've been tasked with (mostly) daily posts on a variety of subjects. First post is here; author page is here; I'm hoping to get a feed up a la AOL on the right sidebar.
TSB has also just added LSUFreek and Oops Pow Surprise—and already has Shoals, McErlain, and Orson—which, like, awesome. I can now suggest things to the Freek, if anyone has ideas.
"Stay tuned. There's a couple guys I'm gonna sit with here. Just guys that maybe if they're not doing all their responsibilities and doing what they need to do to be part of our football program may not be back. I hope that's not too many."
…is the same as Nick Saban's flood of suspicious medical redshirts and unexplained transfers. There's no amount of careful monosyllabic explanation that will get the point across to them so I'll dispense with the humorous talking-to-cavemen schtick and just talk:
Michigan signed a recruiting class of 22 despite having 25 openings. When Rodriguez talks about people on the team who are not meeting expectations he's referencing Kevin Grady, for whom "not meeting expectations" is a kind descriptor, and maybe a couple other people who 1) remain on the team and 2) are, according to the insider rumblings, skating the edge of grade issues. No one has left the team except Wermers, who did so of his own volition.
Michigan benefits in no way from Wermers' post-signing-day departure. In the unlikely event there are a ton of injuries on the line, Michigan will be forced to reach down to a walk-on instead of Wermers. And over the course of the next year there's some chance Wermers would have played his way up the depth chart. No one else has left the program. Any speculation as to why these people who haven't left the program would leave the program and whether it's voluntary or not is… wait, why are we talking about this again?
What we've got here is a quote. Not, you know, actions. And this quote can reasonably be interpreted to mean "there are people on the team who need to get their act together in court/academically" instead of "I am kicking losers out." This criticism is based on a willfully unflattering reading of a statement.
Meanwhile, Alabama signed a recruiting class of thousands (32, if we're being specific, with 25 being the maximum that could enroll) despite having far fewer than 25 openings and then rammed down its roster by chucking every disappointing reserve with a stubbed toe on medical scholarship, getting lucky with some armed robbery, and probably just plain cutting one kid. When Saban signed that huge class he knew with certainty that he would have to remove 10-15 players from scholarship. This was unprecedented and sketchy, and I wasn't the only person to think so. Dr. Saturday, then in his SMQB days, on the subject*:
So, with this year's incoming class, up to eleven players who have signed letters of intent to play football for Alabama will have that commitment at least temporarily deep-sixed, even if all 96-98 candidates meet their obligations. The incoming oversign is seven; if half of that number flunks out, or pulls a gun on somebody, or gets caught with a 15-year-old or something - say, four guys out of 32 - the Tide is still seven scholarships over the 85-man limit. Either existing commitments to returning players are cut, or the eligibility of a full third of the `08 class meets some untimely demise before August. The first option - breaking a commitment to an athlete who has met his requirements - is sketchy. The second option - collecting commitments from as many players as possible with the knowledge that a significant number of them have to fail before they even get to campus - is sketchy. Oversigning to this extent is not okay.
DocSat notes in an addendum that no coach in the country other than Tommy Bowden put himself in a position where his class necessitated cuts after the NCAA-mandated drop to 25; Bowden heartlessly cut cause célèbre Ray Ray McElrathbey and is now unemployed. (These are unrelated; it's just that it's pointless to criticize an unemployed coach.)
'Bama's cram-down was so efficient that it saw the Tide get down to like 83 scholarships, which has been taken by Tide coachbots to mean that there was never a problem in the first place. What it actually means is that Saban's cuts were gone through with even after the bonus armed robbery and cocaine so fast you'll freak scholarships opened up.
So these situations are analogous only if your typical dinner is lead paint chips. I think my favorite part of the complaint is this quote lifted from here and intended to be incriminating…
Alabama has every incentive to dump guys. They flat out have to. If a kid is struggling with his academic eligibility how motivated will Alabama be to help him? If a player commits a petty offense how eager will Alabama be to boot him? If Nick Saban knows that by August he has to say goodbye to six kids and it’s July and he’s only got four down, then what?
I’ll tell you what: someone gets it right in the ass.
…that explains the difference. Way to make your point there, guys. Rodriguez is sitting down with these kids in an attempt to get them on the right track towards staying in the program. He does not want them to leave; he would derive no benefit from it. Saban put himself in a situation where he was not motivated but compelled to weed out a half-dozen or more.
Though I'll admit the rhetoric here got overheated last summer, the point remains valid. Their point… is… uh… eh… Rodriguez said something their tiny lizard brains interpreted as Sabanesque.
I hereby resolve to converse solely with multicellular organisms. Play these gentlemen off, keyboard cat.
*(I certainly hope this is a temporary thing, but this post appears to be down. Here's a google cache link. SBNation wouldn't blast the SMQB archives out of existence in a fit of pique, would they?)