landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
HTTV on Kindle! We have a Kindle edition of the book. We had to drop a lot of the pictures and formatting because of Kindle restrictions and we don't have to print it, so it's a bit cheaper than the book itself at $9.
If you are a Kickstarter backer who would like the Kindle version in addition to the DRM-free digital copy provided to all backers, please give us a little time to figure out how to give it to you. We'll send out an update when we've figured it out.
Books themselves are being lovingly folded right now and should start shipping soon. Because of the way this works there will be a sizeable spread in delivery times (they get mailed out in batches as they're finished), but we are going to hit our mid-July goal.
More Battle. Apparently this is serious:
Would be more surprised if Tyus Battle doesn't commit to Syracuse by weekend's end than if he does commit.
— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) June 19, 2015
It is difficult to imagine that Syracuse is suddenly the choice since they have a coach who's already announced he's retiring and are stung by NCAA sanctions, but that's basketball recruiting for you. If Battle does indeed defect and this head-fake costs Michigan Josh Langford I'm going to be pretty pretty annoyed.
Sounds like work. Kirk Ferentz is the first—only?—Big Ten coach to come out against satellite camps.
“What it really gets down to is just how you want to use your time. Me personally, I’m hopeful — and the NCAA will probably react — my personal preference is I’d like to see camps probably be limited to campus. On top of that, I would support not allowing any outsiders coming to work your camp.”
Iowa has actually done two or three of them already, but…
"We did three this year, and I don’t think we made the news for any of them. We don’t really broadcast it."
The noise you are hearing is an Iowa fan snapping a pencil with his mind.
Cost of attendance calculations. The NCAA's "Power 5" conferences adopted legislation to extend scholarship benefits to cover the full cost of attendance. What does that mean? There is a number that schools maintain called "cost of attendance" that has nothing to do with sports. It's for calculating financial aid, that sort of thing. Now that it's been dragged into a realm it doesn't really belong, people are noticing that the numbers vary a lot—and not very sensibly. Massive rent areas like Palo Alto or Ann Arbor often have nearby universities with low COA numbers; meanwhile Auburn has one of the highest numbers in the country.
How did they come to that conclusion? A lengthy Montgomery Advertiser article explains why. It has essentially been indexed to inflation from a large number determined a long time ago:
Reynolds, who has worked for Auburn for 16 years, said he inherited a cost of attendance figure when he began working for the university and has routinely increased the tuition, board, and personal figures in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with transportation being increased in accordance with the CPI inflation rate, and room being the average cost of all available on-campus housing, currently 4,539 beds.
"This is a financial aid budget," he said. "This isn't an athletic scholarship budget."
The $5,586 in Auburn's cost of attendance is divided into $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation, according to the budget Reynolds provided to theAdvertiser, and remains unchanged from a year ago.
At some point the Power 5 is going to have to come together and figure this out, because there's no way they're going to let a four-year gap of up to ten thousand dollars stand.
A nation of Joe Tillers. Back in the day, (probably) Joe Tiller used to bomb his colleagues behind their backs in entertainingly catty anonymous Athlon articles. It hasn't been the same since he retired to wherever walruses fade away, but the re-emergence of Jim Harbaugh in college has revitalized the genre. ESPN's Travis Haney interviewed a dozen or so coaches, offering anonymity in exchange for salt($). He got some. Bret Bielema asked to be identified and said Harbaugh was rad:
“I have had great respect for Coach Harbaugh for what he built at Stanford and as a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind,” said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who specifically asked to be identified on the record. “Too many people in today’s world love to voice opinions and beliefs when convenient. Few represent who they are and what they believe daily.”
And… I developed respect for Bret Bielema? Odd day.
Others did not think Harbaugh was rad:
“I think he’s nuts. He loves to stir the pot. He’ll have a very short shelf life – but he’s a very good football guy. I will be interested to see how he does there,” a Pac-12 coach said. “[Former 49ers and current Bills offensive coordinator] Greg Roman has always been the brains behind the operation. [Harbaugh] has been at private schools before so I’m interested to see how he does at a public school. There’s a huge difference in how things are handled.”
Greg Roman, Brains Behind The Operation. No offense to Greg Roman but all you have to do to dispel that is look at Harbaugh's coaching tree, which is already more impressive than most.
Others refer to Harbaugh as "Rain Man-ish," which… okay, accurate. Whole thing is insider but worth it.
Speaking of Rain Man-ish. Former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker:
"He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice – pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,'' Walker said of Harbaugh. "We came out and said, "Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.
"He did pretty good. He just couldn't throw the deep, deep pass."
Walker thinks Greg Roman is not the brains behind the operation:
"I think he is going to be great (at Michigan),'' Walker said. "People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy."
Just like Domino's clap clap clapclapclap. The Michigan athletic department's annual budget shows a shortfall for the first time since Tom Goss was athletic director:
Michigan's athletic department had a deficit of nearly $8 million this year, marking the first time in about a decade it operated with a loss, according to interim athletic director Jim Hackett, but he assured the budget for 2016 will be balanced.
Since Goss was working without PSLs or the Big Ten Network, that is truly impressive. Hackett explained why there was such a big shortfall:
"The result of football ticket sales being down (and) added compensation for settlements this past year caused us to have a deficit of about $7.9 million. We covered that with operating reserves, but we've got a balanced budget proposed for next year."
Michigan had to give away almost 20,000 tickets for the Maryland game, then pay Brady Hoke after they fired him, then continue paying Brandon his 100% guaranteed contract, then gather up every nickel in a five-state radius to present to Jim Harbaugh. The first three are Dave Brandon's fault. The last is a pretty good idea:
"We can tell you today, season ticket sales, which are just a portion of the stadium, will probably hit an eight-year high. We just started selling our packets, with combined games (Wednesday) online, (and) we've had almost 18,000 tickets that were sold for some of the single games. We're very optimistic about our fall and what promises there."
Michigan should get out of paying much or all of what it owed Brandon, as well. That dude somehow scoring a CEO job that should pay him more than he was getting as AD means that Michigan won't have to compensate him unless he gets fired from that gig too.
He's worse! /checks coaching hires… He's not good! Chip Brown lays the wood to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson in a 5,000 word piece with startling revelations like:
Steve Hank, chief revenue officer of Texas athletics, told HornsDigest.com the 6 percent average increase (actually 5.7 percent, he said, but it was rounded up) was based on a formula that involved the value of each seat “spread across” the entire, 100,119-seat capacity of Royal-Memorial Stadium.
But when comparing exactly what football season ticket holders paid in 2014, including their contribution to the Longhorn Foundation to retain those tickets, to what they are paying in 2015, season tickets were increased an average of 21.5 percent.
Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff’s personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.
Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches – even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).
Strong’s request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas’ eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.
But he did hire Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart. Despite being quite evidently an idiot. People in charge of things are just in charge of them.
Today in Jim Harbaugh fire quotes. Michigan's having a camp on its own campus for a change, which provides a platform for [fire emoji dot jpeg] x 7:
"In my America, you're allowed to cross the state borders," Harbaugh says. "That's the America I know."
Sounds like a man who has recently watched Hunt For Red October. Or been on a whirlwind tour of half the country. Or both.
And then there's this:
"I don't know what that means, a brand," he says, saying instead it was about "sharing a love for football."
While I don't think that Harbaugh is quite the naïve waif he portrays himself as in that quote, an exhausted Sam Webb returned from the Summer Swarm tour reporting that 1) that was bonkers and he's not doing all of it again next year and 2) Harbaugh was rueful when it ended and wanted to do three weeks of camps next year($). It's not just about finding recruits. It is also about Sincerely Yours In Football.
He's got everyone who isn't an SEC coach on his side on this one, and it's been fun. Remember fun? Fun is good.
Speaking of. All of Jim Harbaugh's tweets can be looked at as Jim Harbaugh in a nutshell because that is what happens when you are constantly YOURSELF AT MAXIMUM VOLUME. This one may be even more definitive than most:
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) June 17, 2015
DAY 79: Still lost. Estevez feverish. Food supplies gone, eating anything vaguely caloric on the forest floor. Intestinal issues severe.
DAY 81: Estevez has died. We sit around his corpse, wondering if we will die by ignoring it… or die by consuming it.
DAY 83: Feel quite a bit better after encountering Harbaugh's Amazonian football camp. Estevez wearing jaunty hats. Does not seem particularly dead. Says he is "on that grind" far too much, though.
Site issues. Had a rough couple days there. Long story short, some search engine or someone else started loading very obscure pages deep in the site. These were so obscure that nobody had bothered loading them before. They were extraordinarily inefficient for Drupal reasons. And there were a lot of them—the "tracker" used to have 2683 pages. It now has one cached one.
I've been monitoring the logs for anything else that causes the database to fall over and die and haven't seen anything. So we should be good.
Ufer. Here is a Ufer thing from Steve Sapardanis. I put this in a draft a month ago and forgot about it, so all I know about it now is that I put "Ufer" in bold before it, so it could be about some other Ufer but probably not.
I hope that was entertaining or informative or both. I have no idea if it was.
1991 Indiana. Wolverine Historian:
Harbaugh needs an organizer. So they're hiring one:
The title: "Director of Internal Communications and Operations for the Head Football Coach."
The job, posted Tuesday on U-M's careers website, is most summarily to "assist the football coach in all areas, including day-to-day operations, communications, office management and administration."
Sounds like they're addressing a weak spot.
Mark The Nomad still wins by a million. In what is inevitably going to be a successful trolling of Michigan State message boards across the state, MLive asked their readers for pictures of their badass Michigan tattoos. None approach the glory of Mark the Nomad's Harbaugh on Saved by the Bell masterpiece, but there's no shame in coming second in this competition.
This is my favorite:
"I need a wolverine, but I don't want it to be generic."
"I could make him look like he just walked in on his parents having sex."
"Make it so, number one."
-"Jean-Luc Picard's many tattoos: a memoir," by Jonathan Frakes
Second place goes to the guy who went full entrails.
The owner of this tattoo helpfully points out that the heart in the wolverine's hand comes from the pile of rotting gristle that used to be an Ohio State player below. Sports: we are reasonable about it!
A blessed man indeed. Jim Harbaugh has never heard of Paul Finebaum.
A coach approaches, fixes his collar and tells him he was the talk of the Paul Finebaum Show that day. Finebaum, whose show is nationally syndicated and televised on the SEC Network, discussed Harbaugh's appearance in Alabama with his legions of dedicated callers.
Harbaugh looks confused and shakes his head. He doesn't know who Paul Finebaum is.
The coach continues, "He's a radio show host."
Again, nothing from Harbaugh.
"He's a big deal down here in SEC country," another coach chimes in.
For just about anyone else involved with college football I would assume that is a put-on. Harbaugh is constitutionally incapable of being anything other than HIMSELF AT MAXIMUM VOLUME, though.
I assume that Harbaugh's knowledge of things is a sine wave of infinite amplitude. He can tell you the exact order of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II and the order of elimination of every Bachelor contestant in history; he's never heard of popcorn and thinks marsupials are horses. He regularly knits shawls with his teeth; every damned time his wife turns the faucet on he goggles and exclaims "WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT?" Etc.
Mmm shade. Nick Baumgardner:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Someone forgot to tell Jim Harbaugh he's supposed to hate this stuff.
"The Raiders are still in play" is played out right now but if we keep saying it it'll be funny again in a few years. The Letterman approach.
Baumgardner quotes Harbaugh at his Sincerely Yours In Football best:
"This is the greatest sport ever invented," Harbaugh says. "Nobody will ever play four years of high school football and look back and say 'I wish I hadn't played football.' You ever hear anybody say that?
"It just doesn't get said. Because it doesn't happen. Football is darn good for you. Darn good for you."
SEC honks who are cheesed off about these satellite camps downplay this aspect of Harbaugh's personality, but it seems real to me. Harbaugh is a football evangelist in an era when people are muttering about the long-term future of the game. He's also a guy looking for recruits. It can be both.
Less of a big deal right now. Michigan's summer basketball camp came and went in the middle of this swarm business with hardly a mention. That's partially Harbaugh sucking up the offseason oxygen—something Beilein is probably happy about—and partially the fact that Michigan doesn't seem on the verge of offering blue-chip 2017 guys who are talking like they will commit. Last year Tyus Battle and Derryck Thornton were in attendance—one out of two ain't bad.
This year, 2017 NV SF Greg Floyd, a top 75 guy but not a five-star, was the most notable (uncommitted) name participating. Austin Davis and Jon Teske were there; Cassius Winston was present but sat out with his broken wrist. The rest of the notables are younger kids that may or may not end up on the radar in the next couple years.
Speaking of Winston, his visit for the camp follows one in May. Both Scout and Rivals seem to be incrementally more optimistic with each one. The vibe now is that Michigan probably tentatively leads; before it was that they maybe tentatively lead.
Okay. The basketball rules changes that were proposed have officially been instantiated.
OFFICIAL! 30-sec shot clock, 4-foot arc, reduction in time outs among changes coming to men's basketball next season. pic.twitter.com/qgLqt0BS6D
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) June 8, 2015
I don't think the clock change will impact Michigan—or anyone—disproportionately. Michigan does get dinged by the larger arc, as they've always been a team that tries to take a charge instead of block a shot. Teske is arriving at the right time, at least.
And thank God for small timeout murders. Put the rest in a sack and throw them in the river, please.
In Texas. A slice of life from the Houston stop:
“OK, you gotta run, speed up, throw a catchable ball,” he said, jogging in a loop and throwing the ball to a camper 10 yards away, always moving. “Throw a catchable ball. That’s not a catchable ball. A catchable ball is right there. Shoulders, one foot in front of the number.
While observing, the former San Francisco 49ers coach offered: “No one likes watching incompletions. They really don’t.”
I imagine a couple of projectors got broken in there.
Another reason we're doing well at Paramus. Blake Costanzo is a former San Francisco 49er who's now an assistant at Paramus Catholic. His take on Harbaugh is a bit different than the few 49ers who have not already retired:
"Awesome," Costanzo said. "You want to play for a guy who's been through it, been to practices, grinded, knows what it's like to be in a locker room. To have a guy that knows what you are going through is huge." …
"Everywhere is Michigan country now. They've been all over the country," Costanzo said. "They are just good people. I know a lot of the coaching staff and they are just good people. I promote good people no matter where they are."
Michigan looks set to rake in a number of New Jersey commits this cycle.
Can't stop, won't stop. Old Dominion announces a 2016 satellite camp stop for the sisterhood of the travelling football. No doubt it will be the first of many.
MLB draft fallout. Baseball saw a number players drafted. CF Jackson Glines, a senior, went in the 10th round. Junior 2B/closer Jacob Croenenworth went in the 7th; he's a junior but Bakich is not holding out hope he'll return. 3B Travis Maezes went in the 13th; Bakich says they might get him back.
Michigan's recruits went late if they went at all, so they should arrive on campus.
Decent turnout in Indy [Mike Spath]
All the Harbaugh. We haven't had any, you know, games yet but so far the Harbaugh era has absolutely lived up to its promise.
CFB Twitter's hottest weekend topics: Fri.: Harbaugh shirtless Sat.: Harbaugh recruiting material Sun.: Harbaugh camp helps charity
— Jerry Hinnen (@JerryHinnen) June 8, 2015
As Ace has documented in cripplingly long recruiting roundups, the Summer Swarm tour is piquing the interest of dozens of high level recruits in this class and the next three. Michigan's nailed down a number of commitments already; there's a wave of guys naming Michigan their leader and/or plugged in gents making Crystal Ball predictions for Michigan.
While it's been a lot of under the radar types to date, 1) Harbaugh's first two recruiting classes at Stanford were generic three stars and Andrew Luck and 2) the wave of guys Michigan is thought to lead for has a lot of big timers in it.
Doesn't that mean… yes, it does. Michigan currently has 14 or 15 spots in its recruiting class. There are a few guys who will have fifth year options but don't project to be contributors; that still leaves Michigan at around 18 spots for a class that it feels like will hit 25. There is going to be some attrition before February.
If a couple of these medical hardships that are poorly kept secrets finally get announced in the near future that number looks pretty reasonable; I don't think we're ever going to see the near zero attrition Michigan had under Brady Hoke. Harbaugh drives people too hard for that.
Headlines. The Montgomery Advertiser:
That's today, three days after Michigan's Alabama stop. The last time I took a screenshot of a media organization days after something happened it was Sports Illustrated bombing Michigan dang near a week after the Shane Morris incident. Harbaugh has changed the script a little bit here.
Eliminating satellite camps? That makes a recruit's life harder. It would make a kid like Jovan Swann, a big-time defensive tackle recruit from Center Grove High, drive almost 300 miles to attend the Michigan football camp in Ann Arbor. Swann, whose brother Mario is a defensive back at Indiana, is interested in the Wolverines. He has a scholarship offer from Michigan State (and Indiana and Iowa and more), but not from Michigan.
"As a parent, I decided I'm going to take (Jovan) to any school that he has an interest in," said his father, Mario Swann Sr. "I would have taken him to Michigan this summer, but now I don't have to."
And this is wrong? This is not wrong.
The spectacle of millionaires complaining about their vacation days is not winning over hearts and minds here. Harbaugh, shirtless, weird Jim Harbaugh, is.
That charity camp BTW. Details:
Harbaugh said he found somebody to follow on Sunday.
"I got a new one. I got Lauren Loose now. I'm going to follow her," Harbaugh said. "I'm going to follow her example. Fighter, courageous, happy, spiritual. She's got what I'm looking for. I'm going to follow her. Find somebody. Find somebody every day. You know who's doing right. Go be a good follower. Learn how to do that."
Loose is the daughter of former Lafayette defensive coordinator and current Army defensive coach John Loose. She is a pediatric brain tumor survivor and the one who the football camp is named for. The event raises funds for brain tumor research and cancer services through the Lauren's First and Goal Foundation.
Sunday's event raised $101,800 and the total for the year is $132,787.
Michigan is keeping this on the up-and-up—they're travelling with a compliance person to make sure they don't rack up minor violations—and they're doing a lot of good for the kids who come out, the causes they're helping out, and themselves. You'd have to be a sociopath to be against such a thing, but we are talking about football coaches.
Also. Detroit will get an extended version of the satellite camps:
Harbaugh, his Michigan coaching staff and the team's sophomore football players will work with the United States Marine Corps to "teach life skills, football, language arts and STEM-based curriculum" to 100 Detroit-area boys from grades 6-8 from July 6-18.
Former NFL player Riki Ellison founded the program nine years ago, and runs similar efforts at Stanford, Northwestern and West Point. He'll assist Michigan with its own version of the program.
People were concerned when Michigan canceled its fantasy camps. They've more than made up for that karmic loss.
There will be no apology. You know me: I approve of anything short of a stabbing that makes a college football game spicier. Harbaugh is amping up damn near everybody, whether it's Saban in Alabama or a bit closer to home:
OSU's WR coach took this about as well as perpetually aggrieved DJ Byrnes takes a harmless tweet from a teenager, throwing a twitter shit fit that has since been deleted. Michigan has not scheduled a contrite press conference in the aftermath. Hail Hackett.
Speaking of the man. Random old This Is Sportscenter commercial featuring Harbs:
"This Is Sportscenter" has been around forever.
Just a rando with a story. Take it with a grain of salt:
Source: midway thru 2014, York walked into meeting Harbaugh was holding w/ players, & Harbaugh told Jed that the meeting was for "men only"
— Kyle McLorg (@Kyle_McLorgBASG) June 8, 2015
This is probably not a good move if you would like to continue your employment no matter how accurate it may be. Again, just some rando with SOURCES on twitter.
UNC details. Local paper with some excerpts from internal UNC emails:
“Occasionally when we have a number of people with special issues we can put them together in a special section but we never ever put an athlete into a special section alone – just too many red flags and we have a little bit of academic credibility to try to uphold,” Crowder wrote back. “All of that being said, talk to me and we’ll see if there are any creative options.”
There are hundreds of these emails, many of them heavily redacted. It's clear that the athletic department specialized in keeping kids eligible with non-classes. If anything will rouse the sleeping bear that is NCAA enforcement, this is it.
I suppose. A dozen people sent this to me and more yelled at me on twitter about it, so yes there was an embarrassing fluff piece on Dave Brandon in the Detroit News. It reads more like a People profile of Eva Longoria—"the couple intends to experience daily life in the Big Apple", etc—than something written by a person with self-respect. It thus says everything you need to know about its author, Daniel Howes, without me chipping in.
Just one thing:
Brandon sounds like a man pleased to be back on the familiar ground of corporate America. There he'll be tackling marketing and operational challenges, building (or repairing) a brand buffeted by changing technology and changing consumer tastes. (All of which, by the way, applied at Michigan, as much as the die-hards refuse to acknowledge it.)
Brandon's most important single act as athletic director was hiring Brady Hoke, a man whose main qualification was having been an assistant at Michigan during the 90s. Hoke was dead set against the changing technology of college football; his hire was anything but "innovating the space." All other gestures towards modernity are frippery around a fusty core.
Anyone who still believes Brandon is some sort of visionary after years of ham-handed missteps followed by lies probably contributed to the $607 United Passions brought in at the box office this weekend. But someone's got to believe the Emperor's new clothes are amazing.
Etc.: Michigan MLB draft primer from user Raoul. Summer Swarm tweet recap. Northwestern's "#funbad" game of the year is so obvious you don't need to click through. "#funbad" is such a Northwestern concept, and I mean that affectionately.
Max out. Max Bielfeldt heads to Indiana unless he gets cut before the season starts, which is about 50/50 given Tom Crean's roster ADHD.
It'll be interesting to see how that works out for both teams: Michigan knows exactly what went down in practice and did not ask Bielfeldt back even after it became clear they had an open scholarship slot. Since Bielfeldt was out-performing Donnal late last year (Doyle was almost always the first option when he was not sick as a dog), the confidence expressed by that decision seems to be about newly-strapping DJ Wilson. Wilson is certainly going to be more of a defensive presence than the ground-bound Bielfeldt.
Rebounding? Eh… leave it to Walton. I may actually be serious about that. In any case, rebounding is the most replaceable skill.
That is a frequently-injured, pre-Sanderson, freshman Doyle outperforming everything with reasonable sample size except senior Jordan Morgan. (Donnal's numbers should be taken in context: there were a half-dozen roll attempts last year that looked good on which Donnal didn't even attempt a shot, kicking back to the perimeter instead of opting for what should be one of the most efficient shots in basketball.) Bielfeld had 12 pick-and-pop possessions, FWIW—on actual rolls to the basket he was at 23 points on 21 buckets. That's 1.09 PPP.
Doyle was on par or better than Bielfeldt at just about everything you can do on a court other than grab defensive rebounds. He should improve a great deal as he ages, and then you've got Wilson and Donnal… minutes are going to be scarce.
Speaking of Walton. Any fears you may have had that his foot thing was going to be a problem this fall should be put to rest:
— spike albrecht (@SpikeAlbrecht) May 22, 2015
Walton joins a Camp Sanderson field that includes almost the entire team plus guys like Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. Word is that one of the most impressive guys there is… Aubrey Dawkins. Going to be a good year.
Meanwhile, Spike's projected return:
Beilein also offered an update on Albrecht on Monday, saying that both of the guard's offseason hip surgeries were successful. Albrecht is still on crutches, but projects to a having a full return by the fall.
"In September, yeah, there's no question," Beilein said.
He should be ready for the season no problem.
A smart guy. Beilein on what the rules changes might mean:
Most focus on the offensive impact of the shot clock change, but the reverberation will reach the other end of the floor. Beilein noted that defenses will likely be more prone to shift from man-to-man to zone defense late in shot clocks.
"I think you'll see more teams flipping stuff and going zone later on because the ballscreen becomes so prevalent at that time," he said.
That would be interesting.
A litmus test. The NCAA just about gave up on serious punishments for anything short of child rape negligence after they threw the book at USC. OSU took a bowl ban and had to get rid of Jim Tressel after Tressel repeatedly lied to the NCAA, but they were spared the kind of scholarship restrictions that put a serious long-term dent in a program. Other than that it's been a series of wrist-slaps.
If anything is going to upset the current "do whatever it's fine" state of affairs, it is the situation at North Carolina. The NCAA at first decided to ignore it, but when forced to revisit the issue they seem to have done so with force. The notice of allegations has just been released, and it contains five separate "severe" violations, most of which are backed up by assertions of dozens of different incidents they encompass.
This will be the first truly major case since the NCAA moved away from calling everything from SMU to stretchgate "major" violations and implemented a four-level system. North Carolina is likely to admit lots and lots of "severe breach of conduct." The penalty guidelines for level 1 violations include:
- 1-2 years of postseason ban
- loss of 12.5% to 25% of scholarships
- up to a half-year ban on a head coach
If the violations are deemed to have induced "aggravation" those penalties can double, and if they stack… hoo boy. The NCAA would be well within its rights to bomb UNC's major sports into the stone age.
Will they? I doubt it.
I'm not really paying attention to this any more. Phil Steele's All Big Ten teams are… well, there's a lot of them. They don't seem that accurate:
The Wolverines did have a few All-Big Ten honorees, however, led by senior linebacker Joe Bolden. Bolden, who broke the 100-tackle mark last season, is a second-team All-Big Ten pick, per Steele.
Linebacker Desmond Morgan (third), offensive guard Kyle Kalis (third), wide receiver Amara Darboh (fourth), defensive back Jabrill Peppers (fourth) and punter Blake O'Neill (fourth) also received mention.
Just from a Michigan perspective, no Jourdan Lewis, no Jarrod Wilson, and Kalis over Glasgow make me wonder if Steele does much more than look at stats and recruiting rankings and guess. (He also does the irritating thing where he throws corners and safeties into the same bucket of defensive backs.)
Ratings up. If softball seems like a bigger deal than it did a few years ago, you aren't alone:
ESPN saw record viewership for the 2015 Women’s College World Series, notching its top two most-viewed Women’s College World Series bracket round games ever this past weekend. LSU/Michigan on Sunday averaged 1,950,000 viewers for the company while UCLA/Auburn on Saturday drew 1,612,000 viewers. Overall, the 2015 Women’s College World Series bracket round (May 28-31) averaged 1,055,000 viewers. Meanwhile, the 2015 Women’s College World Series Championship Finals Game 1 on Monday drew a 1.0 overnight rating, which is tied for the highest-rated WCWS Championship Finals Game 1 on record (since 2007) and a 43% increase (0.7 overnight) from 2014 WCWS Championship Finals Game 1.
The final two games may have beat that admittedly short-lived record.
Bracing? ISS has its final draft rankings out:
Final @ISShockey rankings for upcoming NHL draft: U-M D Zach Werenski is No.11 and F Kyle Connor (U-M commit) is No.13.
— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) June 2, 2015
Hopefully neither of those guys ends up in the wrong place. IE: The Kings or a like organization that doesn't want their guys to play college.
Etc.: In expected news, JT Compher is your hockey captain. Incoming forward Brendan Warren profiled. I could describe a great deal of commentators as "continual boofheads." AFC Ann Arbor origin story. You can chat with Stauskas and Beilein, get autographs and the like, for #chadtough.
[Scheduling note: Brian is out today and tomorrow, I (Seth) am finishing up HTTV. There will be a softball and baseball post later this afternoon]
The Bill C preview. Bill Connelly's annual preview series now goes 128 programs deep; he hit Michigan on Friday. The long term:
Harbaugh is a weird dude who says baffling, Les Milesian things -- that they both played for Bo Schembechler probably isn't a coincidence -- and might be getting weirder with age. And no one is guaranteed success when taking on a new job. If previous history correlated with future success, the last two Michigan hires would have worked out.
But Harbaugh is as close to a sure thing as you can hire. In just 11 years, he has raised the standard at every stop. He hires hungry assistants, builds an ultra-competitive environment, and then wins. He has coaching in his bloodstream, and he's been successful just about everywhere.
The short term is far more uncertain. But you probably know this. You also know the thing that leaps off the page on this chart, but my god to see it quantified:
Adjusted pace. Good lord.
There is some good news. The numbers reflect the massive improvement in line play that I kept promising everyone existed no matter how implausible it seemed given the play of the offense overall:
The line started with just 34 career starts but improved to 50th in Adj. Line Yards and 72nd in Adj. Sack Rate. Considering the level of recruiting, this isn't great, but you can only improve so much in one year.
Both of those were deep into triple digits a year ago, and Michigan returns everyone except Jack Miller to that line instead of losing two NFL draft picks at tackle. I will always wonder how much of the crater was on Darrell Funk and how much was on Rodriguez's recruiting and Al Borges's mad scientist meddling.
Connelly notes that the schedule sets up to be highly swingy. They've only got two teams that project to be very good—OSU and MSU—and relatively few cupcakes. All but one of the good-to-middling teams comes to Ann Arbor, as well. With some luck Michigan could win an encouraging number of games… but there's not much slack in there.
A recommendation. I've had these tabs open in my browser for a while now because I don't want to just toss them off in a UV, but I don't seem to be getting around to the meaty post about them they deserve. So: if you want excellent annotated posts about football, head to James Light Football. He covers all kinds of things from college and pro levels, and he frequently strikes upon Michigan itself. He was at the coaches clinic and has a series of posts detailing things Jedd Fisch, John Baxter…
Why do we play so many starters on special teams? What is a starter? Only the 5 offensive lineman and quarterback are starters. The rest is personnel driven. We don’t have starters, we have football players. You don’t play a position on this team, you play a role. What down is so insignificant that you can afford to have less than your best players?
…and DJ Durkin. Durkin's priorities say a lot about the state of what worries a modern defensive coordinator:
First thing Durkin and his staff do when playing a team is identify these three things. Tempo, Run/Pass Conflicts (RPO’s), Who’s their QB?
(RPOs have mostly been known as "packaged plays" around here.) Michigan under Hoke threatened in none of these categories.
Another point guard option. Michigan is focused on in-state PG Cassius Winston for their (currently) final slot in the 2016 class. They are not laser-focused, however, as Winston has given little indication what direction he might be leaning. They're keeping an eye on other options, though. One of them is Bruce Brown, a composite top 50 player who is listed as a shooting guard by most services. Michigan doesn't see it like that:
On Michigan: “Michigan they want me to run the one. And me and Tyus Battle in the backcourt, that sounds good. He’s solid.”
Indiana is also recruiting him as a point guard; St. John's, North Carolina, and Texas are other names in his recruitment. Brown is currently at a prep school in Vermont but I think he grew up in Boston.
Where are they now: not currently on fire. Quinton Washington seems to have a cool job except for the parts where he catches on fire due to proximity to other fires.
That is "Will Power," who is apparently a real person and not a character in a freshman's screenplay.
Hello again: Moritz Wagner. It feels like we've welcomed Mortiz Wagner to the program a half-dozen times, but here's another one since Michigan signed him and officially announced him. There was a bit of an uncomfortable delay in there that conjured images of Robin Benzing—who did not qualify—but now that's all behind us and we can focus on what we've won:
"Moe is a long and versatile player," Michigan coach John Beilein said in the release. "He has a great understanding of the game with a tremendous upside. As a product of Germany, he has always played against men five to even 10 years older than him, which has only helped his growth as a player.
"As he continues in his development, Moe's skill and athleticism will allow him to eventually play multiple positions for us. He just turned 18 years old, so we are excited about his potential. Moe's engaging personality and passion for the game will make him a very valuable asset to our team now and in the years to come."
Interesting: Michigan listed him at a full 6'10" and they tend to be pretty accurate with roster numbers. Even Trey Burke, who everyone assumed was being handed an inch or two, measured out at just about what Michigan listed him at when he entered the draft. (Spike is likely an exception to this roster fidelity.)
Unless Wagner is a super prospect, he has an uphill path to playing time this year if Zak Irvin can handle the defense and rebounding aspects of the 4. John Beilein loves shooting and he's got a couple of prime wing options in Duncan Robinson and Aubrey Dawkins; if one of the forward-sized fours is going to wrest significant playing time away from those guys he's going to have to be really good.
Claiming poverty. Andy Staples on the "schools don't make a profit" argument put forth when people want to defend the NCAA's version of amateurism:
Athletic directors will claim their programs don’t make money, but that’s also a lie at most Power Five schools. They would make money if they weren’t giving their coaches huge raises and putting gold-plated waterfalls in their locker rooms. Do not confuse an inability to manage money with a lack of money, and don’t believe people who just got $10 million more when they say they can’t pay for the programs they were already funding with $10 million less.
At this point I think everyone understands this except the people charging hundreds of dollars an hour to not understand. October is the inconveniently-timed next potential NCAA-in-court bombshell, as the Jeffery Kessler case—that's the one that explicitly wants to blow the whole system up—will have its class certification hearing.
That lawsuit could put sufficient pressure on the NCAA to make certifying and negotiating with a union look like the best course of action.
Etc.: John Gasaway on deceased former NCAA head Walter Byers, and how he is often misunderstood.
State hockey loses Josh Jacobs to the OHL. That's a different league from guys signing OHL contracts. How long before MSU gets serious and replaces Tom Anastos with a hockey coach?