I thought that myself when I read that article that talked about a Data Scientist(tm)
Site note: Be here for the Liveblog tonight. Mods to your stations at 6:45; we'll get started at 7.
I'll make this one quick.
Things to know about basketball
1. The defense has maybe taken a small step forward, and other observations about how basketball is like pro wrestling, from who else?
2. Michigan's offensive deviation isn't very large says LSA; they generally manage to keep their pace and score with relatively stable frequency. Score one against "defense wins championships because it's more consistent."
4. Purdue and Rutgers are not going to be good at it next year. Padog has begun a preview series for next year's conference teams, starting from the bottom. Northwestern is probably next followed by Penn State, but I'm looking forward to an Indiana preview sooner rather than later.
Best of the Board
QB BATTLE: THIS IS KNOWN
For those not still hitting snooze on football right now, BlueMooner went to the private dinner last week with Nussmeier and came back with generalities that amount to Gardner/Morris/Speight are who we thought they were. Also this:
Audience members posed questions about the comparison of recruiting in the SEC versus the B1G; Coach Saban compared to Hoke; and his intent to stay at UM over the long haul. He adroitly dodged those with a splendid sense of humor. The crowd was really enthusiastic about Coach Nussmeier in control of our offense.
You are welcome to read this as "Nussmeier wants to be a head coach someday" and "the SEC cheats more in recruiting." This too is known.
ATTENTION WAL-MART SHOPPERS
There are 394 items on walmart.com licensed from Michigan Wolverines and 369 for Michigan State Spartans. This should be a thing.
This is more of a link but Bacon addressed "Walmart Wolverines" on his blog this week. If you are an alumnus who has a problem with non-alumni rooting for your alma mater then you should read it.
My sense is that is next to none of you, and "Walverines" is a thing mostly generated by Sparties who don't like how people who didn't get into MSU bring up Michigan's marginal academic superiority. So Bacon is addressing the wrong crowd; on the other hand I'm not sure I want to advocate speaking sense to Spartans, because that totally works.
THE END OF COLLEGE SPORTS AND EVERYTHING
The CAPA decision touched off heated debate on the board, so heated that a second thread was warranted to exclude the money part that the Northwestern players aren't talking about. The debate came down to "better helmets and covering medical expenses down the road for athletes is good" versus "but schools that pretend to be D-I won't be able to live that way."
Congrats are due to Justin Dickens, the guy who granted Heiko that interview with Borges and oversaw a dramatic shift in how bloggers are treated relative to other football media. He's not only an MGoBlog reader; he's now Director of Football Operations. This site's had a lot of criticism for Fort Schembechler but I have zero for Justin, who was given the impossible job of keeping both Dave Brandon and Brian Cook happy, and who despite that always made protecting the players his highest priority. I expect he'll succeed; I'm more anxious about who will succeed him.
Your Moment of Zen:
UPDATE 3/27: There's about 500 spots left in the 40k.
Last week we debuted our first 40k Tourney with DraftStreet. Fun was had, money was won, and you're all lucky I didn't take Adreian Payne (a steal at <$13k) out of pure rivalric spite because otherwise I'd be pocketing all of it. Since Michigan has advanced to another weekend, we figured we'd do the same with the game.
Let's roll again!
First we hail these victors. First to announce the actual winners. Not of the stupid moneycash, but the real prize: MGoBlog gear, and the chance to design the next round of it:
Designs next MGoshirt +
Three free ones
Those are the names they used on Draft Street. 814EastU you still need to send me your address for your shir…nevermind.
Moneycash. MGofantasy partner DraftStreet is letting us enter/run a mini-game within their $40,000 March Madness fantasy contest. The top 250 finishers, i.e. those who make it to the 4th and final round (there are max 2,000 entries in a pool so one in eight entries wins) will split the
$40k in prize money, and those who enter through us also get a shot at designing the next MGoShirt or free MGoStore loot.
Last week we filled the $40k tourney so they opened a $20k one with the same prizes and chance of winning (just with fewer people). I imagine if we fill again they'll do that again.
The Game Explained: For those of you who've rolled our games before you know the drill. For those who haven't, the way it works is you "draft" a team on a salary cap basis: every player has a pre-assigned value based on their production, and you get $100,000 to fit three forwards, three guards, and a pair of stretch players onto your roster.
The Contest: As with last week, it's a Survivor-style league so if you finish in the top half on the first day (and "survive") you move on to the next one and draft a team of players from that day, etc. The difference this time is it's three rounds (three days of tourney games) instead of four. It runs through the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, i.e. Friday 3/28 through Sunday 3/30.
After Friday's games the top 1,000 advance. After Saturday's games, the top 500 of those advance. Then the Elite 8 games will determine the top 250 finishers to split the cash.
The official name is the CBB $40,000 Blowout II. Your team(s) will be competing among up to 2,000 entries. There's a $22 entry fee, OR each day before it begins, if you can catch one, you can enter a side game for $2 or $5 and win your buy-in.
The MGoContest: Entries from MGoBlog get double-entered into our mini-pool, wherein the Top 5 finishers get to pick any shirt from the MGoStore. The champion gets to help us design the next MGoShirt (must keep to rules of propriety, licensed property, and NCAA rules, e.g. profiting from specific players). You come up with the concept and we'll turn in into a shirt, put it in the store, and send you three of them to give out to friends/family/enemies.
To be in our pool you don't have to do anything extra; just use the links from our site to get to the contest site and I'll track it. If the 40k one fills and we have to run a second pool again, you're all still in the same MGoPool.
Is there a button I should press or something?
Detail-like substances: You can't play if you're registering from from Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Vermont, or Puerto Rico, because of some anti-gambling internet laws in those places. Must be 18+. Amount of people advancing is predetermined so if <2,000 entries are in the league the top 1,000/500/250 still advance each day. DraftStreet is running the show under their rules.
3/20/2014 – Michigan 1, Penn State 2 (2OT) – 18-13-4, season over
I already wrote up what this hockey team was before the Penn State game: chaos. February it had become clear that Michigan was a hockey equivalent of Indiana's football outfit, a team capable of doing literally anything on any given night. Beat BC? Ok. Lose to Penn State? Ok ok ok.
In the aftermath of a third loss to one of the worst teams in the country and the subsequent failure to reach the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year, Michigan's season went from just good enough to absolutely not good enough. If they had beaten Notre Dame in the CCHA final last year, their season would have been just good enough instead of absolutely not good enough. If Michigan gets one more game this year they have an opportunity to do something of note.
Instead they're just a 10-8-2 Big Ten mediocrity that went out in the first round of the tournament. If that seems harsh, it's probably not harsh enough if you ask Red:
“Not yet, but I’m getting closer [to retiring]. I can’t handle losing. I can’t handle a team underachieving -- that’s the most disappointing part, and this team definitely underachieved during the second half of the season.
“But, yes I’ll be back.”
The last two years are wearing on Red Berenson, the rock of Saskatchewan. Red told the NHL to wait until he had his degree, leapt directly there, played for 16 years, scored 6 goals in a game, was the NHL coach of the year, and revived a moribund Michigan program. He's almost more crag than man these days, a living monument, and this is eroding him.
I'm not sure he can get it back before the timer goes off. More distressingly, it kind of sounds like he's not sure either. I look down the roster, though, and Copp and Compher and Motte and Hyman seem like they are the kind of guys to pull where others need to be pushed. I hope to God they get it together this offseason and say there's no way the old man is going out like that.
[After THE JUMP: a look at the recruits coming in versus what Michigan lost and a wild-ass guess at what the future holds.]
Welcome: Garrett Taylor
Michigan gained their fifth commitment of the 2015 class on Monday in VA CB Garrett Taylor, the third prospect from the talent-rich Richmond area to commit to U-M in the last three classes (joining Derrick Green and Wilton Speight). Sam Webb has a lengthy (and free) post-commitment feature on Taylor that covers his relationship with Roy Manning, scouting quotes from his coach and a Scout analyst, and the visit that drew him to Michigan:
“We got to go to the school of business… the Ross School of Business, which is really great,” Taylor reported. “The professor toured us around, which was really great. I’ve never had that before. So we toured around, saw the classrooms and stuff like that. It was really personal. We obviously toured all the facilities and the football facilities are great. We got to see all the resources they have in terms of their Glick Fieldhouse. That was big to see a full indoor field, especially with the weather. They go over there sometimes and to have that as a resource is really good. We got to see the weight room. Then we met with Shari (Acho), the head lady of all the academic support so that was great to see. We got a tour of the academic side. You’ve definitely got the support of the tutors and everything like that to make sure that you’re on track academically. It was awesome. It was awesome! It really felt like they wanted me to be up there.”
After reading that quote, it probably shouldn't surprise you that Taylor tweets things like "properly equipped for the SAT tomorrow" with a pencil-on-paper emoji and photo of his already-laid-out TI-83, pair of sharpened Ticonderoga #2s, and pack of old-school erasers. Coaches and reporters alike laud Taylor for being a great, personable kid; Michigan's landed another prospect who fits the proverbial Pattern™.
As for how his commitment affects the class moving forward, Scout's Michael Clark provides some details ($):
After landing Taylor, the Wolverines are done at cornerback in the 2015 class. Now, the staff will turn their focus towards landing one more safety. Top targets include Whitehouse (Texas) and Texas A&M commit Justin Dunning, Dallas (Texas) South Oakcliff’s Prentice McKinney and Evans (Ga.) Lakeside’s Rashad Roundtree.
Many have asked how Taylor's commitment impacts Michigan's pursuit of five-star NJ CB Minkah Fitzpatrick. It already looked like Fitzpatrick would end up elsewhere before Taylor's commitment—Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State are the three schools currently generating the most noise in his recruitment, and Michigan hasn't been mentioned in a while. With a small projected class containing two blue-chip prospects already slotted for corner, I doubt U-M is a serious player in Fitzpatrick's recruitment going forward.
[Hit THE JUMP for details on a couple recent offers, an update on Justin Hilliard, and more.]
we're going to have a picture of Kain Colter at this press conference from ALL THE ANGLES
BiSB's terrific post earlier today covers much of the ground I wanted to, except from a lawyer who actually knows what he's talking about. I did want to put my two cents in, because approximately 74% of the comments I've read in the aftermath of the NLRB's decision make me want to find the person and shake them, shouting something along the lines of "HAVE YOU EVER MADE A COHERENT ARGUMENT IN YOUR GODDAMNED LIFE?!?"
So let's address these things. These are actual MGoBlog user comments. I'd say I'm sorry if I picked yours, but I'm not.
THIS IS THE END
I could definitely see Northwestern arguging that football athletes shouldn't get special treatment over all the other sports, etc and just dropping it the way Chicago did.
So… your theory is that Northwestern will drop football, get kicked out of the Big Ten, lose about 99% of their athletics revenue, and pay for its nonrevenue sports out of its own pocket because the football players have the right to collectively bargain. The people making this decision will be throwing away countless hours of free marketing, making their school less attractive to prospective students, and essentially firing themselves.
Wow. Stupid. So long college sports as we know it.
"So long the Olympics as we know it." –this guy, 1992
No way is the third string back-up tackle as valuable as Jake Ryan or Devin Gardner. Why should a guy who contributes little to victory receive the same level of pay that a Gardner does?
Also, this will basically destroy the MAC and other small schools. They don't have the budget to negotiate anything. I foresee schools dropping football or going to non-scholarship.
This is an argument that the future system might be unfair because it treats all athletes the same when some of them are worth more than others. I'm sure if we think about this very hard for a very long time I can come up with a flaw in that.
The MAC may not be able to provide the same sort of financial support that bigger schools can. This will undoubtedly crater their recruiting, which features many head-to-head wins against the Big Ten.
Won't this cripple many athletic departments and force them to drop sports? Perhaps not Michigan, but schools of lesser stature?
Maryland recently dropped several sports.
There are broad swathes of schools playing NCAA sports, and most of them are going to be completely unaffected by this decision. To be an employee you have to be involved in economic activity, and most NCAA schools are spending, not making money. The top and vast bottom are going to be fine. There is a middle tier of schools that face a choice between narrowing their focus to keep up with the Joneses and abandoning their dreams of being Louisville.
The problem is: they already face that choice. They run with a D-I minimum of sports and throw their resources at the revenue generators. This won't "cripple" them any more than their already short resources do.
Maryland dropped several sports because it was run by an idiot, a problem orthogonal to this discussion.
if this decision stands they will have just walked tens of thousands of student athletes right out of college sports. title IX will be effectively gutted. your daughter that wanted to row/field hockey/basketball, etc, kiss that good bye. your son who wanted to play a sport that really doesn't generate revenue, say gymnastics, wrestling, and track, well that's all done too. nice job [insert expletives here].
There are 311 Division II institutions that make zero money on sports. There are 449 D III institutions. There are hundreds—thousands—of D-II and D-III field hockey, rowing, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, and track programs. The chance that a high revenue program that has to deal with a player union is forced to drop sports is very low, and the overall number of opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics is not likely to change in any significant way.
And even if it did, I don't think there's any compelling reason to privilege generally wealthy nonrevenue athletes over the general student population and especially the relatively poor and underprivileged revenue athletes.
IT'S ALREADY FAIR
The athletes do not draw in the money. The name does. Michigan Football brings in the revenue. I didn't watch Denard any more closely than Sheridan. I don't watch Derrick Walton more often than Darius Morris. Have you ever said you were going to stop tuning in because a player left? Probably not, so it's not the players drawing in the money. The coaches play a big role, because they determine which players get recruited and how well the team performs (more fans watched Beilein than Amaker, for example).
Lots of players come and go every year, and the amount of revenue is not affected.
The hell you say. Traffic patterns during the last two football seasons here certainly indicate a correlation between success and engagement, and while football teams have a pile of goodwill built up all you have to do is look at ticket availability at Minnesota versus Wisconsin, or Northwestern, or Purdue, or Indiana to get an idea that the players make the name over a long period of time. If Michigan had a string of 3-9 seasons over the last 30 years, Michigan Stadium would be a decaying half-full wreck.
Meanwhile, I note you compared Derrick Walton to… uh… Darius Morris. I will expect a full report on the details of Gavin Groninger's career by Tuesday, in exacting detail.
So a 4 year full ride scholarship is not getting paid? This concept is a mockery of the system.
It may or may not be a 4 year full ride, and that full ride is not like getting an engineering degree (most of the time—I see you, Jordan Morgan). Many of the kids coming in are under-prepared to get a meaningful degree and have to spend 50 hours a week year round on their chosen sport. For many the value of their degree is approximately zero, both in terms of vocational knowledge gained and their ability to apply that to a real world job.
This is not because they did not "take advantage of their opportunity." It is because the opportunity was to play football and the rest of it was window dressing.
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) March 26, 2014
Also, CAPA was arguing that the scholarship is payment. The issue is that these players are compensated, making them employees, and the NCAA illegally colludes to cap compensation at a certain amount. That is not legal.
And the system is a mockery of you, man.
It's not free labor, they pay them in the form of education, meals, $1,200 month stipend, etc. Nobody is telling these kids that they can't go to college unless they play football, they can take the normal route and get student loans and be a normal student. That's what grinds my gears about the whole thing.
They are telling them that this is the deal, take it or leave it, if you want to get to the NFL. And oh by the way as you're embarking on your probably-failed quest to have an NFL career that's going to be about 3 years long even if you do make it, we are going to make millions of dollars off your single outstanding skill.
It is ludicrous that everyone in college is all about getting theirs and we bristle at the idea of the players doing the same. Any moral high ground the NCAA had—and they did try to cap assistant pay back in the day—is 20 years gone.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE DETAILS
I wonder what cut the IRS will get from these Unionized employees
lets say 50000 a year for tuition, food, room, board, books and everything else
thats 50000 x .25 since thats 25 percent tax bracket = 12500 taxes
12500 x 4 = 50000 taxes owed
good luck kid
This was capably addressed by BiSB: the NLRB has nothing to do with the IRS and vice versa, and even if it did the way the law is currently written athletic scholarships should already be taxable. If anything, negotiating a provision that the scholarship still applies even if the player leaves the team puts the non-taxability of scholarship on more solid footing. Meanwhile, room and board money is already taxed.
What happens when needs aren't met? Strike? What happens then?
What prevents players from sitting down now?
If the medical benefits, etc. that these players want really comes to fruition, what is that going to do to ticket prices? The schools are going to try to come up with some sort of calculations as to what these new benefits to the players is going to cost and almost certainly try to figure out where the money is going to come from to fund the new player benefits. Odds are it's going to be the consumer (ie - fans) that are going to be asked to help fund the new player benefits.
If ticket prices had any relationship to the cost of supporting the athletic department they would not have quadrupled in real dollars since 2000. If NCAA athletic departments were not trying to wring out every last dime they can already, Rutgers and Maryland would not be joining the Big Ten next year to the outrage of 90% of current Big Ten fans. If athletic departments could not afford to shift some of their money towards the athletes under their care, coaching salaries would not have gone up 70% since 2006.
Does this mean that Northwestern can fire all of their underperforming players and replace them with better ones now?
THEY CAN ALREADY DO THIS. HAVE YOU EVER READ THIS BLOG?
Colter pulled a hamstring during this press conference
If you hadn’t heard, Northwestern’s football players won a court thingy yesterday. NLRB Regional Director Peter Sung Ohr ruled that Northwestern’s players meet the definition of employees, and can therefore form a union if they wish. You can read the ruling here, but why do that when I can summarize it for you with amusing banter?
Bring in the inquisitive bolded alter-ego!
Hey, you can’t tell me what to do. You’re not my boss.
Well that’s the question, isn’t it?
God you are insufferable. Okay, fine. I’ll play your game. GEE WHIZ, WHAT HAPPENED?
Well, to understand fully, we need to go back to 1935…
…when Congress passed the National Labor Relations Act. Under the NLRA, private sector employees have the right to join unions and to collectively bargain for stuff like wages, salary, better candy in the vending machines, and for the boss to stop using words like “synergy” and “Tiger Team.” The catch is that it only applies to employees. The NLRA, for example, doesn’t give students the right to form a union. A person is an “employee” if they perform services in exchange for payment, and are under that person’s control. What the NLRB regional board ruled was that Northwestern’s players do football stuff for Northwestern, as directed by Northwestern* (in the form of the coaches), and in return are compensated with a scholarship and things. In short, Northwestern’s football players are employees of the University.
*other than the defensive secondary, which the NLRB noted “did not seem to understand what a ‘deep half’ was supposed to look like, and displayed an utter disregard for the coaches’ directions to, quote, ‘just look for the other color jersey and guard someone, anyone, goddammit.’”
But the players aren’t paid. They just got to go to school for free and eat some free food and stuff. How are they any different than a normal scholarship student who does biology things the way the biology department says?
That was the University’s main argument. They claimed that the players were more like Graduate Assistants, who aren’t considered employees under a previous NLRB decision (Brown University, 342 NLRB 483 (2004)). The court said that the difference was that GAs aren’t employees because their relationship to their various universities is primarily educational. In other words, your PoliSci GA is simultaneously teaching and studying PoliSci, so they don’t count him as an employee for the teaching part.
The ‘work’done by football players, on the other hand, is completely unrelated to the educational mission of the school and to the athletes’ studies. The university doesn’t get any educational advancement from what football players do (though Northwestern seriously tried to make the argument that playing sports enriches the student experience, and sports are therefore educational, which is exactly as bad of an argument as it sounds).
Instead the school receives gigantic piles of money from what football players do. The school’s interest is economic, not educational. Moreover, they said that the players are not “primarily students,” as they spend up to 50-60 hours per week** on football duties.
Cool to see so many people excited about education
**Real hours. No one other than the NCAA gives a flying crap about the hilarious differentiation between “countable hours” and “non-countable hours.” Mike Rosenberg still sucks.
[AFTER THE JUMP: More union talk. Plus a Sad Pat Fitzgerald GIF]