...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
ncaa: the hypocrisy and how to fix it
We've reached a crossroads. Northwestern has had just about their entire football program sign on to an attempt to get themselves recognized as a union by the National Labor Relations Board. This is a crossroads for the NCAA for obvious reasons.
It is also one for this here blog because it is explicitly a no-politics zone. Whenever the word "union" comes up your bitter uncle who watches Sean Hannity on a loop waddles in from email@example.com to talk about how unions are the doom of America and gets in an argument with your aunt with a dozen cats who sounds like that one lady on NPR. This argument is why the hopefully-soon-to-be-fired dude in charge of NCAA PR framed his response like so:
This union-backed attempt to turn student-athletes into employees undermines the purpose of college: an education.
The unions! They're destroying education.
I don't care about any of that; I only want to look at an interesting tactic to force schools to bargain with their athletes.
Can this work?
Former UNC center John Henson
The NCAA says student-athletes are not employees, because student-athletes are student-athletes, who are not employees. This came about in the 1950s when the widow of a player who had died tried to get workmen's comp. The Colorado Supreme Court eventually found that Fort Lewis College was "not in the football business," which was probably accurate in that time and place.
More recently, a paralyzed TCU player had a long-running court battle that ended in 2000 with the NCAA winning on what seems like a hell of a technicality:
The appeals court finally rejected Waldrep’s claim in June of 2000, ruling that he was not an employee because he had not paid taxes on financial aid that he could have kept even if he quit football.
Along with a weaving series of decisions by the NLRB that erratically but generally side with universities when students who happen to also be workers ask for bargaining rights, this is what the NCAA will hang its hat on.
On the other side, a 2006 paper by a couple of Michigan State law professors (one of whom is a Michigan law alum) entitled
THE MYTH OF THE STUDENT-ATHLETE: THE COLLEGE ATHLETE AS EMPLOYEE
The article is a lot more fun than it sounds.
Why, a half century after adopting this term, should the NCAA
unceasingly intone to millions of viewers that these young men and
women are “student-athletes”? The NCAA’s purpose in this message is
to shore up a crumbling façade, a myth in America, that these young
athletes in NCAA-member sports programs are properly characterized
only as “student-athletes.” This characterization—that athletes at
NCAA-member schools are student-athletes—is essential to the NCAA
because it obscures the legal reality that some of these athletes, in fact,
are also employees.
About halfway through the authors start using the term "employee-athletes" in a delightful fashion. And I'm pretty sure that this paper is the underpinning of the case Northwestern will take to the board, because it lays out its argument specifically for D-I football and basketball players. The new College Athletics Players Association is currently restricting itself to the same players:
Huma told Farrey that only NCAA Division I FBS football players and men’s basketball players will be eligible to join CAPA — not because non-revenue sports athletes don’t deserve a voice and workplace protections, but because revenue sports athletes are in the best position to make a legal case that they should be treated as employees.
The upshot of their argument is that the most recent edict set down by the NLRB declares that students working in some capacity for the university are not actually employees as long as their work is primarily educational (ie, research assistants getting credit for their work) and if their relationship with the university is "not an economic one."
Scholarship athletes are being compensated for activities that have nothing to do with their academic goals and if they're at a number of D-I basketball and football schools they are raking in millions of dollars for their university. Therefore, they are employees*. It's hard to envision a court claiming with a straight face that Michigan is "not in the football business" these days. That they are using their football business money in bizarre ways is not the NLRB's problem.
The weakest part of the argument here comes from the fact that employee-athletes are all given the same amount of compensation. The decision this paper is basing their argument off cited the uniformity of compensation of GAs at Brown, and the fact that some Brown students got the same compensation without having to do work-like activities. The paper convincingly argues that this fourth test is nonsensical in multiple ways, but that is still a sticking point upon which the whole enterprise might founder.
I'm no law-talking guy, but I'd say there's a decent chance Northwestern gets certified.
*[As long as you accept the premise that athletes submit to a high level of control of their activities in exchange for compensation, which is entirely obvious and will be fought against tooth and nail by the NCAA.]
Well, then Northwestern and Northwestern only would have a player union. They would have the legal right to collectively bargain with Northwestern for impermissible benefits that would give the NCAA cause to annihilate Northwestern.
States across the country with laws on the books that are friendlier to student-employee rights would see local CAPA chapters mushroom. As anyone who's dealt with a GEO strike knows, Michigan is one of these.
At this point, the entire system has to either collapse or be forcibly restructured. What the NCAA looks like in the aftermath is completely unpredictable, at least for schools in major conferences. The one thing that is clear: the firmament will be shaken as employee/student/athletes go from people watching the NCAA to half of the decision-making process.
Right? (No not really)
I could have asked this when 4th and Long came out, or that time when a recruit gushed about Alabama's honesty and academics, or countless other recent days when the rusty nail of the current competitive atmosphere and my alma mater's place in it took another hammer blow.
"Youngstown Boys" finally inspired this question when I caught myself about to tweet something along the lines of "Ohio State is one of college football's most notorious bad-guys..." (inference that Michigan is a "good guy" meant). And I caught myself, because absent the rivalry and unenforced arbitrary rules by the feckless NCAA, what's so "evil" about a guy hawking a piece of memorabilia he was given for throwing passes over JT Floyd's head?
Course then we all went on vacation, but a few days after the antithesis of college athletics' weird version of morality won the last BCS title to end the long streak of the antithetical conference, so might as well get this out there:
Do you believe it's fair to characterize some programs as "good" or "evil" relative to their peers? What standards do you judge that on? Which schools are top- or bottom-five at this intercollegiate athletic morality stuff? Where's Michigan?
Brian: This has gotten considerably more difficult as coaching salaries have spiraled out of control and non-revenue sports have gotten ever more palatial palaces for 200-300 people to observe them in. Literally every move in the past 15 years of college football has been an "I'ma get mine" decision from the university presidents on down save some measures from the NCAA like the APR, so it's hard to get on schools that are obviously paying kids like Clemson and Ole Miss like you used to, because subverting an increasingly dishonorable system is not the same thing as the Pony Express was.
1. "Don't post this to Twitter".
2. "Lol so little!".
3. "Why are we even pretending?"
I do still get irritated because this is not 'Nam, there are rules, and vigilante justice is still, like, not legal either. It's frustrating to be a fan of a team that is pretty much on the up-and-up--the NCAA came in with the Rich Rod allegations and came back with penny-ante bullshit--that happens to pretty much suck and watch LaQuon Treadwell do LaQuon Treadwell things. This is the reason all Michigan fans should be selfishly interested in loosening up compensation rules for athletes: Michigan has money, but can't use it to make the revenue sports good. If they could...
Anyway, the true bad guys these days are the ones who take in anyone who can spell their name in three tries and shuffle them through garbage classes they barely have to attend and then spit them out the other end, helpless once their body doesn't make them money. Who are those people? To some extent, everyone, for the same reason seven-foot-tall guys don't shoot free throws that well: they are on the court because of things other than their free throw shooting. A lot of athletes get to college totally unprepared to be at said college, and it is probably better for them to have a shot at fame and a pro career than to toil away at a JUCO anonymously. But some schools are willing to do whatever to keep guys eligible. I don't really know who other than North Carolina, and even that case is more about subverting individual professors who lack oversight than a university-wide conspiracy.
So I've pretty much given up on good and evil with the following exceptions:
[Annoying, probably financially motivated cliffhanger jump goes here]
SHOW ME THE HENRY
How to resolve the NCAA being terrible thing.
My friend and I were having a discussion about the best way to compensate college players, and he came up with the idea of paying players based on performance, sort of how incentive laden contracts work in the NFL, with the stipulation that the players will not receive the money until they graduate or go pro. I thought his idea was awful and unrealistic, because the “student athletes” would now become paid employees of the university and we essentially would have a semi-pro league on our hands. BUT, that got me thinking about a possible solution…
The issue we have here is the balance of compensation between stars and bench-warmers, large schools and small schools, men’s sports and women’s sports (which could also very well be a legal issue), revenue-generating and non-revenue-generating sports, etc. Instead of trying to figure out that mess, let’s take the decision of compensation out of the universities’ hands.
The solution: allow the student athletes to sign endorsement deals. If a corporation is willing to pay for a player’s likeness, he deserves that money. However, the stipulation here is that all money earned by a student athlete through endorsements would have to be held in an escrow account, and the release of the money would be contingent upon the completion of the player’s eligibility or his/her declaration to go pro, whichever comes first. Now if a player is caught accepting benefits beforehand, the NCAA would not look hypocritical when laying down punishments. Student athletes get compensated, legal issues are avoided, and you won't have a bunch of teenagers running around campus with millions of dollars to blow/get into mischief with. What do you think? So crazy it just might work?
That's fine. It's a little paternalistic to tell the kids they can't have money until they get their degree, and that will be less effective at legitimizing the stuff under the table, because poor college kids will still want walking-around money. It's still fine.
I'm not sure why there's this widespread opposition to giving people money in exchange for services, but whatever middle ground you want to stake out that gives the kids their image rights and avoids Title IX issues is fine by me. Sign whatever you want, get whatever money you can acquire, and everything will be the same except compliance folk will have to find less mindlessly pedantic jobs. Worries about booster involvement are naïve—they're already involved.
The other major thing that the NCAA could do is get rid of their inane opposition to agents. If you're a legit agent with X number of current pro clients you can sign players regarded as prospects, and give them some advance on whatever they're going to make in the pros. (If you don't make the pros, that's just tough luck for the agent.) The NCAA doesn't even have to redirect any of the buckets of cash they're currently making to make the system
- less impossible to manage
- a more even playing field
- fairer to the players
Yeah: a more even playing field. Right now no one is going to MAC schools over major offers, but schools willing to do under the table stuff—or just not stop it—have an advantage over schools that don't. And it's tough to figure out what the more moral position is there these days.
Sometimes in football, it seems that you just want to get the best guys on the field right? Do you think we might see a DL consisting of Beyer, Henry, Qwash, Black?
I would think Black could flip back out to SDE pretty easily and could fold back in to 3 tech occasionally depending on the substitution patterns. To me that gets your best pass rushers on the field more regularly and is the most likely combo to soak up OL in the run game too.
You mentioned that you expect Beyer to take Clark's job when Ryan comes back, but why not just make that switch now? Wouldn't you rather get Gordon out there with Beyer than Clark at this point?
(This was sent before Clark played well against UConn.)
If Michigan was going to put out its best line for one particular play against an I-formation that might well be it, but with opponents running out all kinds of spread packages and Michigan responding by lifting their nose tackle, Black's snaps are mostly going to be spent as an interior rush-type against shotgun formations. It's probably not worth moving him midseason to get a marginal improvement. While I like what I've seen from Henry so far, there was a play against UConn where he got obliterated. (Michigan was fortunate that UConn didn't block the second level well and held the gain down.) He's a work in progress.
Meanwhile on Cam Gordon: for whatever reason they're not playing him, and it's to the point that his lack of playing time speaks to a lack of performance. Beyer's been good, but mostly as a guy with his hand in the dirt. When Beyer's been put in coverage he's shown some flaws. Gordon's not getting more time is probably just his fate at this point.
I don't get it, either. They've been giving him seemingly genuine praise for years now and when it comes down to it they just don't put him on the field.
[After THE JUMP: evaluating Michigan's coaching staff, plus Bo Pelini axe murder.]
Videos du jour. CTK hits up Cam Gordon:
And the BTN talks M:
Gardner is lauded as "awfully impressive," the OL and WR "deep and talented," and "Fitz looked pretty good"; Howard Griffith entertainingly (and accidentally) refers to "Pimpkins" when talking about the defensive line. DiNardo is just nuts about Mattison.
If you'd like to compare tones, here's the MSU talk. They "lean" Maxwell at QB, but DiNardo says he couldn't pick a guy based on 147 snaps in that practice.
That poor EA midlevel exec who has to call up every team individually. Following the lead of the NCAA, the Big Ten and SEC are getting out of the licensing business with EA sports:
"Each school makes its own individual decision regarding whether or not to license their trademarks for use in the EA Sports game(s)," the SEC said in a statement. "The Southeastern Conference has chosen not to do so moving forward.
"Neither the SEC, its member universities, nor the NCAA have ever licensed the right to use the name or likeness of any student to EA Sports."
Ed O'Bannon has 'em on the run.
Good lord man. The Schofield family would do just fine in the Amazon river:
“Schogiving” is a giant Thanksgiving party in either late July or early August, depending when the Schofield boys report to football camp. The party ballooned to 50 people this year with at least 15 pounds of pork tenderloin, a 35-pound turkey and a 20-pound ham. The food is prepared by Kathy in the Schofield kitchen.
“She kind of made up a holiday,” Schofield said. “She wanted to do it. Our whole family is there. She wanted to make a giant dinner and it became our entire family and friends.”
MEAT FOR THE MEAT GOD.
CATCH FOR THE CATCH GOD. Drew Dileo was good and underused last year and it would be beneficial for the team if he was good and properly used this year. I'm generally not a fan of KC Joyner's very basic statistical whatnot articles($), but YPA is YPA:
There are a lot of reasons to think that Michigan's offense will be better in 2013 and Dileo is one of them. In the eight-game sample detailed in the aforementioned article, Dileo racked up a 12.2 overall YPA and an 11.9 YPA on passes that were thrown to him when he started the play lined up as a slot receiver. That latter trait should come in very handy as the Maize and Blue make the full transition to Al Borges' pro-style passing offense.
Joyner names Dileo a potential breakout guy if he gets more opportunities, and I'm with him. More on this in the season preview, but Dileo was very, very good a year ago and I would like him to get five opportunities a game instead of 2.5.
A tribute to McMurty. From Wolverine Historian, as per usual:
Booker on finalists. A little more detail from the local paper:
"Michigan's been recruiting me since the eighth grade, Michigan State's been recruiting me since the ninth grade," Booker said. "They've been around for a while and I have great relationships with both coaching staffs. I've been to both campuses multiple times on unofficial visits, but I haven't visited (either) of them with both my parents at the same time and I want to do that."
"With Kentucky and coach Calipari, you can do everything in basketball you want to do," Booker said. "He puts players in the (NBA) and wins national championships, and builds dynasties. That's what you want to be a part of it, winning national championships and living out your dreams. That's what coach Calipari's been doing the last few years."
But Kentucky might take itself off the board here soon.
Dez Bryant doesn't like it. Dez Bryant opens up about his suspension from the NCAA:
"I did lie. I came back. I told the truth and they suspended me indefinitely," Bryant said. "The way the guy was talking to me was like I did something wrong. I didn’t know it was OK for me to go to someone’s house."
Bryant said he lied because he was scared.
"Right, so I got scared and I lied," Bryant said. "I feel like if anybody else was in my position they probably would have done the same."
He's all like yeah he should be able to sign things:
"Yes. He should be able to," Bryant said. "He should be able to sign as many autographs and make as much money as he wants, because it’s his name. I feel like he’s the one who created it. He should be able to do whatever he feels as long as it’s legal and I don’t think there’s anything illegal about signing a picture of yourself and making money off himself. Shoot, the NCAA is making money off of it when they’re selling those No. 2 shirts. Why can’t he make a little bit of money off of it?"
Is there an answer to that question?
Happy trails en route? It sounds like Michigan is going to lose 2015 SF Luke Kennard to Kentucky:
"It was really cool getting to sit and talk with coach Cal about my game," Kennard said. "Cal's main message to me was just that he wants me in a Kentucky uniform. He told me let's get it done."
While Kennard still denies having a favorite at this time, the class of 2015 product said that he likely will make a decision sometime after his junior season of high school basketball.
Asked about the chances that Calipari get his wish to get him in a Wildcats uniform, Kennard responded, "There's a good possibility."
Unfortunate after Michigan put so much time into the kid, but they'll be fine.
Herbstreit likes us. ESPN man on Michigan:
"But how can you not like Devin Gardner? He's 6-4, he's 215 pounds. He fits perfectly into what Al Borges wants to do. I think Al Borges, to his credit, did the best that he could in a very, very difficult set of circumstances with (former Michigan quarterback) Denard Robinson. Denard will be always hailed and remembered by Michigan fans as being a hero, and yet when you're Al Borges and you're trying to run more of a West Coast, pro-style offense, it's hard to try to make that spread, running-style quarterback work in your system. But they made good strides and did the best they could."
Herbstreit doesn't like back-to-back games for Michigan and Ohio State, which means he is not having a stroke.
The ghost of Lloyd Carr haunts everything. Oh yes.
Lloyd Carr stopped @Peedi3416 and I one day on the sidewalk and randomly said, "the hardest part about winning is the expectation it brings"
— Anthony Wright (@ItsAntWright) July 26, 2013
Life advice, or just Lloyd Carr musing darkly on a life he perceives as a slate-gray expanse of clouds? Does Lloyd Carr show up at orientation, pick a bright-eyed pre-med student, and tell them "this doesn't make you an adult"? I hope so. It would be very Michigan if one of their former coaches became the Dark Oracle Of Ann Arbor.
Nine minutes of game winning field goals. Right here:
Glenn Robinson III throwing various things down. Also right here:
Kate. I wish you to see this picture. I think the basketball team has gotten their Final Four rings.
A handsome man, now handsomer.
Piling on Emmert. Mark Emmert is getting hammered from all sides these days, with the latest hits a unified front from the Big 5 conferences against the NCAA status quo and an extensive OTL article detailing the chaos inside the organization:
One source said that at least one major conference has gone so far as to send a directive to its representative on the NCAA Executive Committee -- which, among other duties, hires and fires the association's president -- to make it "crystal clear that they were not at all happy with the direction of the entire enterprise under Emmert."
He picked up the dread vote of confidence a while ago.
Meanwhile, with an obviously coordinated assault on the current state of the NCAA launched by the commissioners of the top five conferences, change is coming, and soon. Emmert himself is joining the chorus:
Emmert said he expects significant changes to how the NCAA operates to be adopted within the next year.
At issue is the ability of the richest athletic programs --- which attract the massive television rights fees --- to set policy without the smaller D-I programs stopping them because of financial concerns.
“There’s one thing that virtually everybody in Division I has in common right now, and that is they don’t like the governance model,” Emmert said. “Now, there’s not agreement on what the new model should be. But there’s very little support for continuing things in the governing process the way they are today.”
Emmert actually may have been at the forefront of this, but don't tell anyone that. He may gone about everything in the most ham-handed way possible, but given what he's been trying to do he's likely on board with Division Zero or whatever.
I am too, of course. The gap between programs that are net spenders and those that have to figure out what to do with their buckets of money is untenable, and the players should get some more of the money coming in. If this is the way to do it, great:
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said Wednesday he wants lifetime scholarships for athletes to finish their educations and a non-athletic year for “at-risk” students followed by four years of eligibility.
“There’s no one talking about this being some incremental change,” Emmert said. “I think there’s an interest in some pretty fundamental change in the way decisions are made, both to accomodate those (financial) differences but also to deal with concerns people have about representation ... in the policy debates.”
Etc.: Ace points out that OSU has the best record against the spread in conference games over the past ten years, nationally. Michigan is barely below .500. Baseball brings in 16 kids, including the co-Mr. Baseballs in the state. They are 11 guys over their roster limit, though. That's just how baseball works, I guess?
Charlie Weis has an epiphany. Jordan Kovacs gets hazed. The randomness of turnovers is pretty much why Darrell Hazell got to Purdue. Bill Connolly previews State. Think he's way underrating LeVeon Bell and thus overrating MSU's line, FWIW. Connolly also does Iowa. Targeting is going to be a fiasco.
Bulking up. Glenn Robinson III posts his offseason workout results to the internet. He is a cyborg:
Not bad for under two months. Now, about creating those shots…
In similar news for the ladies, boy does Michigan like taking pictures of itself without a shirt on. Dennis Norfleet may have an eight-pack.
But he has eyebrows and can play basketball. NBADraft.net has joined Chad Ford in projecting Trey Burke to the Pistons; Hardaway also slips into the first round at #29.
There's another interesting name right after Hardaway's: Glen Rice Jr. You may remember Michigan passing over Rice when he was a recruit despite their apparent desire to lock down any NBA kids, Michigan alum or no, they can find. Despite Rice rounding into a potential first-rounder, that seems to have been the right call since for whatever mildly unsavory reason, Rice spent last year tearing up the D-League instead of helping Georgia Tech not be horrible.
Anyway: that rumor out there about how the Pistons would rather grab Cody Zeller than Trey Burke when they've got Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond is so insane that it must be a smokescreen, but Joe Dumars is both the guy who put together the most unlikely championship team in… almost ever, I bet and the one who thought spending most of his cap space on a six-foot shooting guard and a guy without eyebrows was a good idea, traded Chauncey Billups for the ghost of Iverson and then couldn't even tank properly. I'm about fed up with Dumars at this point, and passing on Trey Burke (at eight!) is dead-to-me time.
What would happen if Trey Burke went up against NBA-level defenses? If only there was some way to tell… some way to tell… some way to tell…
5/10 from 2, 4/11 from 3, 10 assists versus Kansas
Dumars is eyeing this kid from Uzbekistan I bet.
Cry me a river of blood and transfers. Your unpaid student-athletes are leaving for better opportunities elsewhere in spite of the fact that you give them no money. You have done the same time and again to arrive where you are, the head coach of a basketball program. This is your hot take on that:
“It’s a bad rule,” Self says.
“It’s totally unfair to programs where they’ve worked with kids for four years,” Weber says.
Yes, that is the Bill Self at Kansas who just took grad transfer Tarik Black from Memphis, and Bruce Weber, the Kansas State coach who took Sam Maniscalco from Bradley. I'd like to say this is a surprising lack of self-awareness, but it's more required than surprised these days.
Elsewhere in the article, 16 players transferring up is an epidemic, with a transfer from Tulsa to Missouri highlighted as a negative ("I felt terrible for Danny [Manning]" says SIU coach Barry Hinson) after Tulsa fired its head coach. These days new head coaches feel free to cut loose anyone who doesn't fit their systems and these guys still have the gall to complain when players go where they know they're actually wanted. The article does, to its credit, suggest that actually offering those now-legal four-year scholarships would go a ways towards making the complaints something other than laughable.
Until then, lol. How many transfers of the 400+ this year were by choice of the coach, not the player? When that number is less than 16, call me.
Hello California. The Big Ten has called a press conference today with reps from the Holiday and Hunger bowls, which undoubtedly means they'll be affiliating with those folks. The Holiday is slated to get the third pick of teams left over from the big bowls (ie, 4th or 5th, mostly 5th); Hunger will be deposited into the Congrats On Going 6-6 range.
The Holiday is slated to be another one of those annoying play-up blows where the Pac-12 will send its second pick to the thing, not the third. That plus road game is not a good recipe for bowl success even if you aren't an epic pile of ever-growing suck. Remember that one time an Iowa team that went 2-6 in the Big Ten played Texas in Texas? Yeah. That's somewhat mitigated by the Big Ten having a stupid number of teams soon. Silver linings woo.
One hundred and forty two. Beilein talks retirement?
The soon-to-be seventh-year Michigan coach said Thursday he's got an idea of how many more years he'd like to coach before retiring, but isn't ready to announce those numbers publicly just yet.
"I have some numbers out there in my mind," said Beilein, who will turn 61 in February.
Prior to last season, Beilein said he still hadn't given retirement much thought, explaining how he'd just know when it was time to step away from the game. The 2013 season will be his 36th year as a head college basketball coach.
I suppose this is an inevitable thing. Guy will do so at Michigan, that's for sure, and hopefully not for another six or seven years.
Inflation. Lawyers Guns and Money takes a look at inflation-adjusted Michigan ticket prices over time, finding that things bounced around in a narrow range from 27 dollars (2012) to 47 for an entire century before the recent explosion to approximately 130 dollars, depending on how much of your PSL you're writing off.
Also included: why amateurism was basically fine in 1981 and is ludicrous now.
(3) Salary of Michigan’s head football coach, in 2012 dollars:
2012: $3.25 million
That is all you need to know. Related: 16 million of projects for field hockey, softball, and baseball approved.