The Beginning Of The End

The Beginning Of The End Comment Count

Brian August 12th, 2014 at 2:23 PM

 Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Ed%20O'Bannon%20UCLA[1]

The O'Bannon decision came down at six o'clock on a Friday, irritating all the journalists who suddenly had 1/3 less weekend… and sort of obliterating the NCAA.

The "sort of" part: the injunction the decision delivers doesn't radically upset the system. It prevents the NCAA from enforcing a couple of rules. The upshot is that schools can at least offer:

  1. full cost of attendance scholarships, and
  2. 5k per year from NIL rights placed in a trust that players get after their eligibility expire.

That'll add up to something in the 8k range annually for football and basketball players. It's the "at least" that's interesting. Instead of an arbitrary cap on compensation we now have an arbitrary floor. In a world where Indiana State gets to tell Michigan what to do you could be certain that compensation would be set to the minimum. But with the new autonomy structure, you might see the Big 5 go bigger.

If they do that's something that will be driven by the lower end, and primarily by basketball. Rutgers and Northwestern need all the help they can get; Michigan State is more concerned about recruiting against teams that are their equal in terms of compensation they can offer athletes.

The NCAA's autonomy structure is set up such that a UConn could choose to adopt whatever extra expenses the Power 5 did, so they would not be doomed as long as they could afford to keep up.

But even if it's not the floor, it's still not that different. Same structure, with a not-particularly-significant amount of the revenue directed to the athletes.

The "obliterating" part: Judge Wilken rejected every argument the NCAA made.

In her 99-page opinion, Wilken decreed that the NCAA's longstanding ban on compensating athletes for use of their name, image and likeness violates antitrust law. That alone was a victory for the plaintiffs, five years in the making. But more than that, Wilken repeatedly and unambiguously struck down virtually every argument the NCAA made in court in defense of the traditional collegiate model.

Well, except one. Bizarrely, it was the worst one:

Wilken sided with the NCAA on just one major issue. She empathized with the organization's mission to prevent commercial exploitation of athletes and thus denied an attempt to allow product endorsements.

The idea that getting paid for something is being exploited is the deepest weirdness the NCAA's structure has imposed on the world, and for that to come through this case unscathed is so so weird.

Other than that, though, the NCAA went 0-fer, and if they got off light it was only because the plaintiffs weren't asking for the world:

Wilken was never going to drop a nuclear bomb that completely professionalized college athletes, because that was never the scope of the case. The plaintiffs had focused specifically on athletes' rights to a share of licensing revenue derived from their appearances in television broadcast and video games.

There are cases that are are still upcoming, and now they have a court case that says they're in the right. Rutgers law professor Michael Carrier:

“There is lots of litigation going on and this is something plaintiffs can use in every case now. You have a comprehensive opinion that thoroughly looks at the justifications and thoroughly strikes them down. The NCAA may disagree, but the default position now is the NCAA does not have its amateurism defense position to stand behind.”

Bomb's gone off, and now we're waiting for the shock wave.

So now what?

Appeals that probably won't change much other than some numbers. ESPN's Lester Munson sums up the NCAA's position here:

As accurate and as obvious as her ruling seems to be, the NCAA cannot accept it. It must appeal the ruling to preserve even a slim chance in the other antitrust cases the NCAA faces, and it must persist in its claim that its rules are reasonable and legal.

A hopeless rearguard action.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Needs Entrance Music

Unverified Voracity Needs Entrance Music Comment Count

Brian August 4th, 2014 at 12:35 PM

PELINI. Yes.

This is what is called a face turn. Pelini should start entering stadiums with his own corn-oriented theme music.

Reduced price. Michigan has cut the waiting list fee from 500 dollars to 150 for the 2015 season. That's the one with OSU and MSU games on it. I think we've officially hit the limit of what people will pay. Also, this… this is not a good thing to title your page about buying season tickets.

image

Watching football is not supposed to make you feel like you're going through twoadays and want to die.

Our lack of post depth and experience: slightly less exploitable. A couple of Big Ten big guys will not take on Doyle/Donnal and company, for reasons pedestrian and mysterious. The pedestrian one: VT transfer Trevor Thompson did not get a waiver at Ohio State and will redshirt. OSU does still get fifth-year Temple transfer Anthony Lee, so not a huge blow.

The mysterious and potentially more important: MSU stretch four Kenny Kaminski has been booted permanently. The crack MSU beat will no doubt have full details on the reason for his dismissal sometime after the sun turns the Earth into a smoking cinder bereft of life, so look out for that, Titan News Network.

Kaminski got only ten minutes a game last year, but he shot 50% on threes. This is Not Bad. Izzo kind of had a conniption fit about everything else about his game, because Izzo. Without any post types in the incoming class, MSU now will rely on Branden Dawson even more than they would have normally and lack the ability to insert a defense-stretching option for times when that would be good.

Now that I put it ion paper, this is less important from a Michigan perspective. Kaminski was a changeup option that a game against Michigan does not invite.

This is an interesting thing. I can't embed this at all, but here's a fascinating graph of the evolution of NFL players' height and weight over time. As you might expect, things get larger and heavier. The interesting bit is the split.

imageimage

Increasing specialization has seen a class of OL/DL types that have totally separated from people who weigh 270 pounds. 280? 290? Do not apply.

Yea, and thine bagels shall be coated in whatever toppings you desire. Michigan's compliance twitter feed is slowly morphing into Leviticus, and I'm okay with that.

ON THE THIRD DAY OF THE ACCLIMATIZATION PERIOD, YEA, THE DOLOMITES DID DON PADS AND VENTURE FORTH INTO THE FIELD OF PLAY.

Happy! Sad. Mitch McGary is doing stupid dunks on Vine.

There's another one where he flips it up to a teammate with his feet. #McGaryForUSMNT

Unfortunately, I am totally not over this. File me under sad bastard mooning at the record store in a Nick Hornby novel in re: reaction to any and all McGary things. Oh yeah I'm really happy for him it sounds like he's doing great oh I'm doing fine you know just buying these records and so sad that I feel like I'm dissolving every day no no man I'm fine.

/plays The Cure for 12 hours straight

Is there an It Gets Better for Mitch McGary withdrawal?

It's called the Big Ten for a reason. That reason is "we don't even know anymore." But we can have a reason again! Kirk Ferentz said that this could happen:

Kirk Ferentz said he could see the Big Ten going to 10 conference games. "If we're going to nine, I don't see why not," he said.

Money, probably. I am beginning to wonder about the relative value of a home and home versus two bodybag games; surely the increased interest from scheduling, say, Iowa, is now just about enough to offset the fact that you're playing a road game once TV factors in.

Rittenberg's take is cynical, but probably accurate:

How many Big Ten teams would get into the playoff with a 10-game league schedule if the higher-regarded SEC plays only eight conference contests? It's all about the playoff and it doesn't matter how you get there as long as you get there. That's how the Big Ten must approach scheduling.

I find it hard to believe that a committee is going to pick a team with an extra loss, even if it had a tougher schedule. And it's debatable whether the committee will even see it as a tougher schedule given the recent direction of the league.

If adding a tenth game induces Big Ten teams to strip out some of the very few comparison points we get before bowl season, all the committee will have to go on is reputation. That would be bad.

I am getting excited about hockey. The prospect of Copp/Compher/Larkin down the middle and the big hole on the blueline that Zach Werenski just filled combine to get me hype about what will go down at Yost this fall. Compher is tearing up the USA WJC camp going on right now:

Compher, who centered Team White’s top line between Fasching and 2015 draft prospect Kyle Connor, was arguably his side’s top player all the way through. He used his feet to take away time and space, and drew the ire of Team Blue with a hit in the corner right at the halftime horn. In the second half, the reigning B1G Freshman of the Year made a smart zone entry and executed a give-and-go with Will Butcher (COL) before finding Fasching at the doorstep for White’s second marker. …

Compher was a key cog at both ends of the rink all game long, applying pressure without the puck while showing his playmaking eyes en route to picking up two assists on the day. He worked hard behind the net for his first assist, and kicked back to the point for a secondary helper on the third White goal. The University of Michigan standout rounded out his effort with some excellent work at the left point on the power play. He nearly added a goal to his weekend resume with a shot that just missed high over the crossbar in the final minutes.

Meanwhile, Motte and Larkin combined to score a late winner against Finland.

The soccer game happened. I did not go, if you're curious. 55 bucks was about 40 too many for a friendly between a couple of teams I don't really care about. 109,000 people disagreed with that, so you got a packed Michigan Stadium and the tangible and intangible benefits of that. The broadcast must have said the words "Big House" a dozen times every 15 minutes; also the department made some money.

Hopefully that'll become something of an annual event. The cachet of having the largest stadium in the country is a natural draw for teams that can fill it. Hopefully they can figure out the turf issues.

Unfortunately the size of the playing surface is short of regulations for a real game, as was extensively discussed when Michigan Stadium was on a list of potential hosting venues for the USA's failed World Cup bid. Any real game would have to be played on a platform that sat above the actual playing field and wiped out viewing angles for big chunks of the stadium. I don't think Michigan Stadium will ever get serious consideration for a USA game because of that.

Oh man, lawyers. I mean that in a good way this time. Andy Schwarz, who was a plaintiff's witness in the O'Bannon case, has been writing big lawyerly pieces for Deadspin about the case. His latest is more of an overview of the two sides struggling to "fix" the NCAA. One, dubbed "Team Reform," thinks that the whole problem with the system is that the universities aren't funneling the profits back into the academic side. The other, dubbed "Team Market" is just like dude this is a joke now just let them get what they can.

I bring it up because Schwarz has a couple of places in the piece that sum up a ton of things I've been thinking:

I personally question the undertones of complaints that athletes may blow their payments on bling and tattoos, when we applaud college students for spending money on ephemeral activities like traveling to Florence for a semester of wine and museums, but as a member of Team Market, I am willing to entertain the possibility that deferred payments will bridge the gap between paying suppliers and pleasing consumers and result in the most popular market-produced product.  …"Fear of a Black Wallet" need not rule the country forever.

Fear of a Black Wallet! The paternalistic overtones of the arguments that start and end with "but then they'll have money" summed up in five words. They might waste their money, sure. It's being wasted now on compliance.

His sarcastic survey questions are also amazing:

This may also explain some of the surveys that we see from time to time, including even the one the NCAA presented in the recent O'Bannon litigation. The question wasn't framed as "Do you prefer watching undercompensated athletes play if it means you can rationalize your love of sports as somehow more noble than you secretly know it is?" or "Does your interest in college sports increase as more value is taken from the athletes and then ostensibly used to further more noble goals?"

I'm noticing this guy writes really long sentences now that I'm quoting him. Anyway, hardcore fans are an interesting exception to the survey trend wherein people say they'll like college sports less if it's less amateur. Guilty as charged.

Etc.: Been a lot of e-sporps about women lately. Jane comments on e-sporps about women. Michigan is favored by 35 against… them. I don't know if that makes me feel better or more terrified.

Comments

Bring Out Your Dead Institutions: an O’Bannon Post-Mortem

Bring Out Your Dead Institutions: an O’Bannon Post-Mortem Comment Count

BiSB July 3rd, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Stacks on stacks

Oh, hey there. We have to stop meeting like this.

We don’t meet. We’re the same person. I just hit Ctrl-B and I’m you.

So I’m Tyler Durden, and you’re… Robert Paulson? No, that was Meat Loaf. Wait, Edward Norton didn’t have a name in that movie, did he? Huh. I guess I never realized that.

And neither of us knows Helena Bonham-Carter. But watching Michigan football these days is like punching yourself in the face in a parking lot, so I guess that works.

I’ll be over here making soap if you need anything

Anywho, the O’Bannon trial ended last Friday, and it’s time to poke the corpse with a stick for a while. Many people spent the weeks and months up to the trial saying that the NCAA was probably screwed. Many of those same people spent the three weeks of the trial declaring that the NCAA was DEFINITELY screwed (and mocking them at every turn). And then came the last day of the trial, in which the plaintiffs had a bad day and some people declared that the NCAA was only mostly dead. So, to clear things up, I’ll make the following nuanced legal prediction:

The NCAA remains deeply and profoundly screwed. I think.

We shall delve into the ways, and the likely outcomes, but if you don’t want to read beyond the impending blather and the jump and the more blather, you may enjoy this Fourth of July weekend comfortable in the knowledge that Mark Emmert will, in short order, have a sad.

So why did everyone say the NCAA might not have to go on the cart?

Well, the thing about anti-trust law…

[returns to rendering fat]

…is that it isn’t the remedy for all ills caused by gigantic douchey monoliths. The plaintiff (O’Bannon) has the burden of showing violations of antitrust law, not just terrible behavior; the NCAA could have burned the entire 1995 UCLA Bruins basketball at the stake and it wouldn’t be an antitrust violation. As sports law and antitrust guru Michael McCann put it, antitrust law is “about protecting competition in the marketplace for the benefit of consumers and marketplace participants.” O’Bannon has to point to a specific defined market that the NCAA is harming, and to identify who the buyers are and who the sellers are in the market, as well as the specific harm created to consumers or market participants. If you can’t figure out how that works when we’re talking about college sports, you’re in the company of at least one federal judge.

The plaintiffs struggled to articulate these things at the weird closing argument Q&A the judge did, because it doesn’t really map to college football very well. But while it is understandable, if O’Bannon can’t explain how the NCAA is harming consumers in a specific market, the NCAA could skate.

[AFTER THE JUMP: NSFMBF]

Comments

Unverified Voracity Finally Drafts A Wolverine

Unverified Voracity Finally Drafts A Wolverine Comment Count

Brian July 1st, 2014 at 12:59 PM

RIP, Bobby Womack. The man who provided the Michigan Replay theme, and eventually our podcast's, has died.

via

The whole thing is here; Womack was far more famous for doing a bunch of other things, but around here he's my ringtone. May the program once again live up to the awesomeness of the horns.

451344442.0_standard_709.0[1]

NHL draft stuff. Incoming F Dylan Larkin may have even gone a little higher than expected when he was drafted by (possibly) YOUR Detroit Red Wings at 15th overall. That's good for Michigan, as Detroit is generally patient with their prospects—so patient that it drives their fans nuts—and the friendship between Red and Mike Babcock should prevent Larkin from departing until he's good and ready.

The only other Michigan player to get drafted was Zach Nagelvoort, who went to the Oilers in the middle rounds. Quite a rise for him to go from "guy who had to leave his NAHL team to get playing time" to draft pick.

With the rest of Michigan's class kind of a patchwork of overagers, it's not a huge surprise that the rest of the guys got passed over. Dexter Dancs had a shot, but no one else was even first-time eligible IIRC.

Michigan could have a big 2015, with three incoming players under consideration for first-round picks. Kyle Connor was the second-leading scorer in the USHL; U17 D Zach Werenski is good enough that Michigan is trying to bring him in right now; NTDP defenseman Nick Boka was one of the first invites to that program in his year. Chris Dilks has all three on his "A" list of guys he's seen who have a shot at the first round.

With Cooper Marody and Brendan Warren also coming off good years, Michigan should have five current and future players called around this time next year.

That explains that. I'm pretty sure we are all already aware that the reason Michigan backed off of top 100 MN RB Jeff Jones was questions about his eligibility, but if there were any questions about those questions they should no longer be in question:

The highest-rated recruit to commit to Minnesota during the Internet recruiting era has reportedly failed to register an ACT score high enough for enrollment this fall, according to a report from the Star Tribune.

Running back Jeff Jones needed to improve his ACT score in order to offset a rough year academically as a sophomore at Minneapolis Washburn; the NCAA determines eligibility through a process that combines report card grade-point averages as well as standardized test scores. As the Star Tribune's Joe Christensen previously reported, Jones improved his ACT score with an April test, but needed to do so again on June 14.

He's trying some late hijinks with online classes and such that Michigan's admissions would almost certainly reject, so… yeah. Michigan accurately projected that he had very little chance of suiting up this fall.

O'Bannon's over. The trial is over after three weeks, and despite the presence of Mary Sue Coleman and Dave Brandon on the NCAA's witness list neither appeared. No doubt whatever testimony they had would have been redundant with various other president/AD types who took the stand to explain that the NCAA was good and college was good, but I was looking forward to this Claudia Wilken person giving Brandon the stink-eye for assertions that, to be fair, would have been no less ridiculous than a bunch of things we already heard.

To me, nothing sums up the NCAA's argument better than Mark Emmert responding to a question about his 1.6 million dollar salary:

You can justify anything if you hire a consultant to do so, and will try to if you are the kind of person who can thrive in an organization as orthogonal to reality as the NCAA. I have no doubt the parade of ludicrously-compensated suits the NCAA paraded in front of the court genuinely believes themselves to be agents for good in a corrupt world. You cannot get a man to understand something his job prohibits him from understanding, after all.

I have real problems with the executive class of the NCAA acting like they're running a hedge fund in everything they do and then expecting us to believe the things that come out of their mouths, and eagerly await whatever comeuppance the legal system can contrive. It won't be enough, but whatever.

Speaking of that. Delany is "driven" to have the Big Ten Basketball championship in MSG despite the fact that it is booked during championship week.

Greatest comment ever. Great satire can be mistaken for genuine sentiment… and I think this comment left on an O'Bannon wrap-up post on CBS is satire.

ONLY one man can save colleges..  save sports and  save the country

and that man is NICK SABAN

jealous sports nuts as host of sports talk in knoxville... saying that nick saban hated women and is a bully

usually GREED MONSTER  guys  after they get rich and  popular dumps their wives for a younger

and more pretty woman.. NOT saban  still married to the same one  since 21 ...  and  not only  rich and popular  but also good looking for women...... THAT is  proof that saban is not  what  these insane jealous;nuts try to make him out to be..

the best thing for america is  to make saban the dictator of the country  just like he has done with  bama  football and the same great success  for the country will  come .... all people  ,must obey saban  for  all  peoples  success... just like all bama players obeys and they get the  greatest success

saban as dictator  sets up  the  best system  and places everyone himself in the right position... like he does with football

lets hear it...... HIP HIP  HOORAY.......  HIP HIP  HOORAY .NICK SABAN FOR DICTATOR of AMERICA!

But I'm not entirely sure.

Hello. The USA is playing a knockout-round game in the World Cup today, so nothing is going to knock off my shine. But I should mention that Rutgers and Maryland are now officially part of the Big Ten. The Big Ten has celebrated this by taking pictures of their mascots in Washington DC. That is all.

Etc.: Stop reading about my early opinion of Tate Forcier and read my early opinion on Nik Stauskas.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Bought A Suit

Unverified Voracity Bought A Suit Comment Count

Brian June 27th, 2014 at 1:41 PM

1403834865000-nik-stauskas[1]

A veritable flood. Congrats to Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Glenn Robinson III as they embark on their NBA careers. I'm not even going to linger on the fact that if the Pistons didn't get jumped in the draft order their shooting-desperate butts would have been sitting at #8, where Stauskas went to the Kings. I'm not going to just stand over here banging my head against the wall and moaning "whyyyyy."

I will take off my ratty, old Pistons hat and put my Michigan one on so I can be happy:

Morgan signed a free agent contract with the Timberwolves.

Meanwhile Caris LeVert is projected as a lottery pick next year. #welcometothefactory

It's not impossible. A pretty stunning counterpoint to Michigan's claims that their issues with selling tickets are everyone's issues:

Penn State's fan culture has remained that enthused through all of that. There's something to learn there. Or we could just keep hiring people from the Knicks with no clue about college sports or Michigan.

Keeping the band together. Michigan's three basketball assistants have signed contract extensions. Finally, someone spends money on something that they definitely should.

The other draft. The NHL Draft starts tonight; recruit Dylan Larkin is likely to go off the board in the first round, so there are a number of "here's this guy" articles. USA Today:

Larkin might be the safest pick because he's a gifted skater who could be a team's No. 2 center for 10 years.

"He is probably the most fluid skater in the draft," said Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting. "He has a powerful stride, and he is also an intelligent player."

Red Line Report has him going 16th to… sigh… Columbus.

The Washington Post also had an interesting piece about how college players are underrated relative to their draft positions:

Of the players drafted from 2006 to 2009, 14.7 percent of players from Major Junior have hit that benchmark [of 40 NHL games]; players from collegiate programs, on the other hand, have hit that mark 17.1 percent of the time. And those players from Major Junior are picked close to a round earlier on average than those playing in college (97th pick vs. 121th pick).

This is not a huge surprise. College players play in a tougher environment against older players, in which points translate more readily to higher levels:

image

Despite this, college prospects are actually getting drafted less often even as the percentage of players in the NHL from the NCAA ranks hits all time highs—30 percent as of last year. Meanwhile:

A study of players selected in the NHL draft from 2000 to 2006 shows that an incredible 70 percent of U.S. college players taken in the first round went on to play at least 300 NHL games (100 or more games for goalies drafted in the first round) compared to 57 percent of all other players selected in the first round through the same time period.

There is a Moneyball opportunity here for any GM who isn't a neanderthal.

That's going well, then. Stewart Mandel's final take on the O'Bannon case: there was something there to argue, but instead the NCAA trotted out a bunch of empty overpaid suits. ESPN's Tom Farrey was willing to declare "Game Over" at halftime. Grantland's Charles Pierce titles his story simply "How It Ends."

Etc.: Michigan plans almost $350 million in construction. Here's a charming story about bird shit at Michigan. Why our brains cannot accept randomness.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Is Unprecedented

Unverified Voracity Is Unprecedented Comment Count

Brian June 24th, 2014 at 12:23 PM

They said it couldn't be done. As first reported by mgouser Canadian, hockey tickets are actually declining(!) in price this year:

Just got an email informing me that this seasons prices have been reduced. Endzone seats see a 15% drop, sideline 12% and centre ice 10%.
Also I noticed at the bottom of the email that season ticket holders will receive a 20% concession discount before the start of the game (for every home game). This is great news for myself as that's the only time i visit the concession stands (grabbing a bite to eat as I have to rush over right after work).

Wags immediately assert not to click on any links as this email must be written by a Nigerian prince, but no seriously I got it too:

image

I wonder when the last price drop in one of the big three sports happened. I certainly can't remember one, but you have to figure that basketball was walking back prices at some point during the dark period. Ticket demand for hockey must be very soft, what with two years out of the tournament and basketball going like gangbusters.

There's also an assortment of season ticket holder benefits. While none of them are particularly significant, it is a step in the right direction for a department that has basically laughed at the idea of loyalty since Brandon was installed.

Ty Wheatley tribute. Wolverine Historian releases a new version that's five minutes longer because why not:

A sizeable nerve hit. John U Bacon's article about Michigan's season ticket situation was so popular his server imploded under the pressure, and now Yahoo has asked him to consolidate and refine it for their site. I don't think the headline guy did him any favors by invoking "greed", but if you liked the original you'll find plenty to agree with in the sequel. It also gives me the opportunity to pull another money quote, so here goes:

Yes, advertising in the Big House does matter. Americans are bombarded by ads, about 5,000 a day. Michigan Stadium used to be a sanctuary from modern marketing, an urban version of a National Park. Now it's just another stop on the sales train.

Everything the ticket holders spend hundreds of dollars to wait for and pay for, they can get at home for next to nothing – including the ads -- plus better replays. They can only get the marching band at the Big House.

John might be attempting to set a record for "number of times single piece gets emailed to me," and I think he's just about caught that piece about Gibbons that every MSU/OSU troll in the world sent me.

Just when your life was running low on gravel trucks. Mike Barwis has a reality TV series coming up from the Funny or Die guys, who happen to be fanatical Michigan fans. Barwis is a natural for this, of course.

sam02[1]

Well done, Jim. Jim Delany took the stand as an NCAA witness. For the umpteenth time, an NCAA witness went over a bunch of stuff the judge said she wouldn't be considering like the impact on non-revenue sports. Delany also issued more College Is Good statements that make legal analysts rend their garments at their irrelevancy.

That was par for the course. Then Delany firebombed his side's cause:

Delany is tired of athletes being asked to spend all year on voluntary -- read: mandatory -- workouts. He'd like to see athletes get a chance to spend a semester abroad if they chose. He believes they are supposed to be students first. As he said all this, he admitted he remains very much in the minority among the policymakers in college sports on those issues. (Case in point: The schools have recently passed rules allowing football and basketball coaches to spend more time with their players in the offseason.)

That admission from Delany hacked several questions off his cross examination.

The plaintiffs have spent the entire trial trying to prove that in today's NCAA, players are athletes first and students second. The NCAA's attorneys and most of its witnesses have insisted that isn't the case. They say the athletes are students who just happen to play sports. They say allowing football and men's basketball players to sell their name, image and likeness rights would drive a wedge between the athletes and the student body. The plaintiffs contend the wedge was driven long ago and extra money in the pockets of the athletes won't change that. Delany helped them make that case Friday by explaining the reforms he'd like to see that actually would make the players feel more like regular students and then by explaining that they'd get steamrolled if they came up for a vote.

People are just in charge of things, etc.

I only have one problem with Andy Staples's article:

Outside of the Big Ten, Delany is massively unpopular. He continually stood in the way of a college football playoff. He essentially claimed an SEC team beat a Big Ten team for a football national title because the SEC team was faster and dumber. He created a cash cow of a cable network while still banging the drum for amateurism.

He is massively unpopular to Big Ten fans as well after adding Rutgers and Maryland.

Meanwhile, in Emmertland. Staples covers Emmert's testimony:

Emmert discussed the "commercial pressures" to use athletes in a variety of ways. "One has to make sure, in an amateur context, that it doesn't go to a place where the student-athletes are in fact being used as nothing more than shills for a product," Emmert said.

187469351AT00132_ACC_Champi

Staples got a little snarky. I understand. It's hard not to be. As I've noted before, taking the NCAA's model and trying to justify it in a courtroom leads to progressively increasing levels of cognitive dissonance that end with you going ACK and snarking.

Oh no, what would that be like. Upside to the NCAA enforcement department ceasing to exist, from the NCAA's perspective:

Dinosaur hit by Google meteor. It must have been grand to be a sportswriter in the days when the collective memory of your readers was about six months long, tops, an you could just recycle your bits ad nauseum in between three-martini lunches. Unfortunately, these days you can just plug "out of touch sportswriter name" and "topic" and verily, thou art exposed.

So when Dan Shaughnessy wrote a "but I don't want to like soccer" piece that seemed 25 years old, it was quickly discovered that the reason it seemed 25 years old is that it actually was. Deadspin:

Hands are what separate man from beast

June 22, 2014

Soccer takes away our hands. This makes the game incredibly skillful and exhausting, but also robs fans of much of the beauty of sport. Hands and opposable thumbs separate us from creatures of the wild.

June 17, 1994

And what's with the hands? How good can any game be when you can't use your hands? Hands are what separate us from the animal kingdom.

July 5, 1990

Finally, there is the hands problem. Hands and thumbs, that's what separates us from the beasts of the jungle.

I'm terrified that I repeat myself too much when I go on about how punting is evil or the NCAA should keel over and die posthaste, because I came of age shaking my head at dudes like Shaugnessy and Rick Reilly who phoned in the same four columns for 20 years.

I used to be really mad at these guys because they were wasting the greatest job in the world. Nowadays it's more contempt than anger. Y'all are still doing this in 2014?

Hockey scouting. Over The Boards collects a bunch of scouting on college-hockey bound gentlemen, touching on a number of Michigan recruits. Zach Werenski, who may be on campus this fall:

He’s deliberate and doesn’t put himself in situations to fail. He doesn’t pick his battles, he just battles smart. His natural abilities, what he’s worked on, continuing to improve, I think the debate is what part of what he does is going to persist to the pro level, but his being well-rounded I don’t think makes him undefined like some toolsy kids that can’t figure out where they put their skills in the toolbox and when to pull them out, you know? He knows what he can do and plays to it: situational awareness.

2016 D Griffin Luce:

“Luce is arguably the best ’98 defenseman in the country. He has great size at 6’3, 200 and plays with an edge, throwing his body around in the corners and in-front of the net in his own end and is a presence on the offensive blueline. Luce moves very well for his size and age and handles the puck effortlessly with hard, crisp, tape to tape passes up ice. He can run the powerplay and with his reach and hockey IQ is an ideal penalty killer as his head is always on swivel and getting his stick out to take away passing lanes."

Luce is projected as a potential first-rounder. 2015 F Kyle Connor gets a brief mention as a kid who has really come on this year. That is understating it a bit. Connor was second in the USHL in scoring this year, highly unusual for a kid his age, and is one of three 2015-ish recruits at the WJC evaluation camp this year. I know Yost Built has been fretting about whether he'll follow through on his commitment, so hopefully this reassures somewhat:

“Growing up, that was my dream school,” said Connor. “I’m a Michigan football fan and Michigan everything, even my parents are big Michigan fans. When I heard they offered me the scholarship it was a no brainer.”

Saginaw drafted him in the 14th round, and they're not known for swooping in on college commits.

I will also take this opportunity to note that UNO has a kid named "Luc Snuggerud" coming in this year. That has to go high up on the list of most hockey names.

Etc.: EMU to install a gray field, start calling Rynearson "the Factory." "Why isn't EMU I-AA?" you ask, because that's what you always ask about EMU.

USC announces that all revenue sport scholarships will be guaranteed for four years. A collection of early Big Ten odds. Texas's AD is so Brandon, still.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Welcomes You To Emmert Day

Unverified Voracity Welcomes You To Emmert Day Comment Count

Brian June 19th, 2014 at 12:07 PM

large[1]

Wat. All joke circuits shorted out, man.

I just can't, man.

I wish I could disagree. Michigan opens up as big dogs against Michigan State (they are +7.5) and Ohio State (+8). They're only +3 for Notre Dame, so we've got that going for us.

Michigan should be favored in the rest of their games; they're a touchdown favorite against Penn State and –3 against Northwestern.

O'Bannon stuff. The trial has been a bit odd, as scheduling issues have caused plaintiff and defense witnesses to come in a jumbled mess instead of a particular order. I think we can safely call this the low point (read tweets from bottom):

Yesterday South Carolina president Harris Pastides had his turn on the stand, where he asserted that if athletes were granted rights to their image that South Carolina would shut everything except football and men's basketball down, because they can't find any more money.

I did not see any tweets to the effect of "plaintiff lawyer ask Pastides how many sports South Carolina had in 1990 and how much revenue they had then," unfortunately, but Kevin Trahan jumped on Pastides's ridiculous assertions anyway.

JetBlue Hooks the Horns

One dollar says Christine Plonsky sounds like Ben Stein

Meanwhile Texas women's AD Christine Plonsky, who we've pooped on in this space before, turned in the spectacularly tone-deaf performance you'd expect, claiming in a danged courtroom that players asking for a slice of the money they generate is a symptom of "entitlement." Plonsky seems to think everything is entitlement. From last April:

"Who gets a four-year, $120K deal guaranteed at age 17?" Christine A. Plonsky, women's athletic director at the University of Texas, wrote in an e-mail to The Chronicle. "The last thing young people need right now is more entitlement."

From September 2012:

"I view these cases as being the result of the entitlement attitude we've created in our revenue sports," Plonsky wrote. "We now have threatening s-a's -- many of whom, based on grad rates of the '80s and '90s, sucked a whole lot off the college athletics pipe -- and now want to buckle the system at the knees of the expense of today's s-a's."

Plonsky makes 350k a year supervising sports that lose piles and piles of money; a large chunk of her testimony worked its way around to the fact that the NCAA is protecting their athletes from commercial "exploitation."

It's remarkable how insane these arguments are once you put them in a legal setting. In the NCAA's eyes, it's only exploitation if someone gives you money for something. The people with inflated salaries preventing this transaction from happening are the heroes.

I leave the law-talkin' to BISB, but the immense amounts of double-speak being issued here would make me want to swing my gavel into the head of the people presenting them.

And today. Today is Mark Emmert day. He probably won't issue quite as many howlers as Plonsky, who has a real knack for sounding like the worst possible use of 350k. I wouldn't take a bet on that, though.

The latest "people are just in charge of things for no reason." KU's student government took a look at the athletic department's finances and recommended that KU's student athletics fee should be terminated. They ended up not quite doing that but cutting about a quarter of the completely unnecessary subsidy to the AD. The AD responds thusly

Kansas associate athletic director Jim Marchiony said Thursday that the KU athletic department has decided to re-allocate those seats for boosters, cutting out some of the KU students’ best real estate.

The decision, according to Marchiony, stems from a student government vote earlier this year that aimed to remove a student fee that channeled close to $1.1 million to the athletic department.

Kansas athletics revenues have almost doubled since 2005.

Nope, not yet. Zagsblog momentarily reported that Canadian PG Jamal Murray had gotten a Michigan offer, but corrected itself. Michigan called, but an offer is not on the table at the moment. Murray has been on an unofficial so he could get one at any time, and while he's mostly being recruited as a point guard he is 6'5" so there is some possibility he could coexist with Thornton or Winston.

In other basketball recruiting news:

  • Michigan is poking around 2015 NY SG Matt Ryan. Ryan has a Notre Dame offer and is projected to end up there by the 247 Crystal Ball; he might be waiting for bigger offers.
  • Another new name($) is 2015 FL combo guard Prince Ali, a former UConn commit who's around 50th most places. His named popped up out of nowhere when Rivals's Eric Bossi reported that Ali's top two are now UCLA and Michigan. Ali is a "hardcore driver and really athletic" who needs to work on his shooting; he'd be a departure from the Beilein mold. He should take an official this fall.
  • 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf is thinking about moving up his thinking about moving up his timetable to March instead of taking officials next fall.

While Michigan appears to be looking at other options, Jalen Coleman is the top priority in 2015. Given the promising way the class of 2016 is looking Michigan may take a small 2015 class (they have one spot now but will probably get up to three or four) in order to take more of the 2016 guys.

A potentially large blow for Buckeyes. OSU was going to rely on freshman shooting guard D'Angelo Russell heavily, as he can shoot and such. OSU needs someone to do those things. But they may not have him; he still doesn't have the requisite test score:

The eligibility center is awaiting Russell’s score from a standardized test he took earlier this month, the source said. He needs a test score that, combined with his grade-point average in his high-school “core courses,” makes him eligible to play as a freshman.

If he doesn't get the number there he's just about out of chances.

Prepare for hits. USA Hockey has announced the 42 players invited to their WJC evaluation camp, including four Michigan players: D Michael Downing, F JT Compher, F Dylan Larkin, and F Tyler Motte. Recruit(!) Kyle Connor is also invited; he's the second-youngest player there.

Compher made the team last year before a broken foot sent him back to Ann Arbor for the GLI. Compher played anyway, because he is JT Compher, and this is the reason he's a holy lock for the WJC this year:

The group embodies what Johansson hopes to have with the group picked for the 2015 WJC: Strong, skilled and hard to play against.

"J.T. Compher embodies all of that," Johansson said. "We look at a player like that and a coach says I can use him in any and all situations. He's hard to play against."

Motte went last year and should go again this year. Downing probably won't make the team without a big leap from him; the US is stacked on D. I'd bet Larkin goes as well. The hockey roster's enormity will at least give Michigan options for the GLI.

Etc.: I would be super mad about this, but I am not perpetually aggrieved. Tyus Battle visits Louisville and Kentucky, says requisite nice things. David Sills, who committed to Lane Kiffin as an eighth grader, is not going to end up at USC. Surprise.

Comments

Injunction Junction: What’s your Function

Injunction Junction: What’s your Function Comment Count

BiSB June 13th, 2014 at 10:29 AM

NCAA Athletes Lawsuits

Alternative Title: O’Bannon… You Came And You Sued For Injunction…

Alternative Alternative Title: Selling Little Bottles of OLB #9

The O’Bannon antitrust trial started this week, and because trials are fun and listening to the NCAA’s lawyers is amusing as hell, let’s talk about it. To properly understand this, we have to go back to the year 1890 and the passage of the Sherman Antitrust Act…

Sweet tapdancing hell we are NOT doing this again. We’re not going back to freeking nineteenth century.

Oh come on, this stuff is interesting.

Matlock
Plaintiff's attorney

I just died of boredom.

Fine. But we at least have to go back to the year 1995. Ed O’Bannon is the best player in college basketball; he averages 20.4 points and 8.3 boards and wins the Wooden award, and his UCLA Bruins win the national title. So that was cool. Then, a decade later,  a younger relative showed O’Bannon a copy of EA Sports’ NCAA 2007, which contained some classic teams, including the 1994-95 UCLA Bruins. O’Bannon noticed that (a) he was in that game, and (b) he hadn’t been paid anything for his appearance in the game. This, he deduced, was crap.

But he waived his rights to get paid for that, right?

Indeed. All athletes, before they play a single second, have to sign a waiver that relinquishes any rights they have in their likeness. The NCAA can use any player’s image for whatever the NCAA sees fit, and owes the athlete nothing. In fact, as you may know, if players DO get paid for their likenesses during their playing careers, they get suspended for an entire season. No, wait, that’s pot. You get suspended for one half of one game. But still, athletes can’t get paid.

There is, however, a way to get around that waiver. If the NCAA violated the law in forcing O’Bannon and other athletes to waive those rights, the waiver are invalid. If only such a law was passed during the Harrison Administration (NNTHA) that Bolded Disembodied Alter-Ego would let me discuss…

Sigh. Fine, just make it quick.

Mccoy
Other plaintiff's attorney

WOO. The Sherman Antitrust Act makes certain anticompetitive behaviors by entities that have dominant positions in a given market illegal. It’s not against the law to create a monopoly, but if you have one, you can’t use it to restrain trade or hurt consumers. If you’re Microsoft, you can install Windows on 80% of all computers, and that’s not a problem. If you use that 80% market share to bundle everything with Internet Explorer so people won’t use Netscape Navigator, that IS a problem.

Yes, the problems of the 1990s were bizarre in hindsight.

And what exactly are the plaintiffs whining about?

When athletes start playing, they have to sign a waiver that surrenders all of their name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) rights to the NCAA. The NCAA can then use those rights however they see fit without compensating the athletes in any way. Two ways they use athletes’ NIL rights are in licensing for video games and licensing for live television broadcasts of games, promos, etc.

For video games, it’s a pretty easy case to make. The NCAA used to grant EA Sports the right to develop and sell video games with all of the FBS teams and players, and in exchange EA Sports would add a little depth to the Scrooge McDuck coin vault swimming pool. The NCAA has tried, half-heartedly, to argue that it is a coincidence that the rosters of every college team have every player with the appropriate height, weight, position, number, skin color, athletic characteristics, and general appearance. This issue bleeds over into other not-about-Player-X-but-definitely-about-Player-X stuff like jersey sales; sure, Michigan wasn’t selling Denard jerseys. But they were selling Denard jerseys.

The other issue is television rights. Right now, conferences sign television deals with networks, networks televise games, networks pay conferences large sums of money, conferences distribute that money among the member schools, and member schools give players… uh… the satisfaction of a job well done. O’Bannon is arguing that part of the value of those broadcasts are the result of the NIL rights that the players have to sign over to the NCAA.

[AFTER THE JUMP: More of what we're talking about here]

Comments

Unverified Voracity. Let Us Go.

Unverified Voracity. Let Us Go. Comment Count

Brian June 12th, 2014 at 3:23 PM

World Cup stuff. LET'S GOOOOOOO

Zonal Marking has previews for the entire group, and despite the late shift by the US they are right on point with theirs.

USA:

The holding midfielder could still be Jones, if Klinsmann is adventurous, but Kyle Beckerman came into the side against Nigeria, having also played there against Mexico, and is a much better fit. Playing at the base of a diamond is a specialist role, and Klinsmann is fortunate to be able to call upon Beckerman, who has been playing in that position for Real Salt Lake, where he is captain.

Ghana:

The 2010 squad was packed with youth, and therefore it’s no surprise that the majority of players have retained their places as they’ve gained more experience. But as Ghana’s reputation has grown, they’ve been forced to adapt to different challenges. When they were the underdogs, they could sit back, remain compact and counter-attack extremely swiftly. Now opponents are aware of that threat, they’re forced to become more proactive, but lack the creativity and incision to dominate games and score goals.

The Ghanian friendly against South Korea could not have echoed that evaluation more closely; Ghana spent most of the game watching South Korea play around with the ball and not quite score, and then they executed ruthlessly—and somewhat fortunately—on the break. This is a game in which hoofing it upfield under pressure is understandable.

Note that Ghana has probably lost wing/forward Majeed Waris, who tore a quad in that game. The guy who replaced him scored a hat trick, but Waris was first choice and played well in qualifying.

Portugal:

Portugal always have roughly the same style, roughly the same strengths and weaknesses, and roughly the same chance of winning the competition. It’s no different this time around. Portugal’s starting XI for World Cup 2014 is extremely similar to their starting XI for Euro 2012, and it’s a familiar story – solid defence, talented central midfield, dangerous wide players, no prolific striker.

Germany:

Talented players everywhere, but guaranteed cohesion nowhere. It feels like there’s a World Cup-winning XI somewhere in this side, and if Low had infinite friendlies to work out who works well together, he’d eventually find the winning combination.

Jerry Hinnen reviews the USA's WC history; all of Altidore's touches against Nigeria; Brian Phillips on Garrincha and Pele and goddamn Brian Phillips is just the man:

There is no possibility that this World Cup will cast itself in Garrincha’s image more than Pelé’s. But if his spirit could just touch it a little. If the next month could just remind us that FIFA’s agenda is not all that soccer can be.

And here's an excellent and informative breakdown of how the US played against Nigeria and how important it is to keep things tight at the back:

Let's compare things to other things. The perennial easy post is back in force thanks to the unfamiliarity of where soccer nations fit in everyone's pantheon. Crimson Quarry takes a swing at comparing World Cup outfits to Big Ten basketball programs:

Michigan

The Fab Five was a phenomenon in the 1990s, and the Wolverines made two title games but lost. Meanwhile, Total Football was a phenomenon in the 1970s for the Netherlands, who also made it to two World Cup finals and lost both. Since then, both teams have made it to the finals another time, but lost in the process. In addition, both have recently had strong offenses with suspect defenses, and love to refer to their teams by the colors of their jerseys. "Hup Holland" is basically the Dutch equivalent of "Go Blue." Plus, the state of Michigan even has a city called Holland. It makes too much sense.

That's a swing and a miss, from my perspective. Argentina is where it's at: offensively enthralling, weak on defense, had a moment of glory in the 80s.

Speaking of Indiana. IU QB Tre Roberson is transferring:

"We appreciate and thank Tre for his contributions to our football program both on and off the field," Wilson said. "He is an outstanding player and a great young man. We wish him well as he moves forward with his career."

Normally that would be a who-cares blip but after last year when Roberson came in for Sudfeld and nearly drove Indiana to a win, not so much. Taking the dual threat option away from the Hoosiers makes their offense considerably less scary.

Wait, what? Jeff Goodman has a list of the best developers of talent in the college basketball coaching ranks. John Beilein slides in at #3:

3) John Beilein, Michigan Wolverines: He’s starting to churn out NBA guys lately -- Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr., and Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III this year. “Player development,” said one NBA scout. “Bottom line. He works on players' individual games. There’s a lot of shooting, of course, but every practice he takes 20 or so minutes to focus on getting guys better.”

This makes plenty of sense, as Beilein's made a specialty of making three-stars into early entries starting with the Burke/Hardaway class, and with Caris LeVert on the horizon Michigan will have dumped six guys into the NBA in three years, only one of whom was particularly hyped when he committed—McGary.

That makes sense. The rest of the list… hoo boy. #2 is Ben Howland who is unemployed at the moment. #4 is Tom Izzo, because… uh… Draymond? I mean, when your list of top NBA developers has an entry that starts like this…

Izzo doesn’t necessarily churn out a ton of NBA guys

…you may want to re-evaluate your list.

Calipari also shows up, because he doesn't tear many ACLs.

That's one way to approach it. Miami has decided they can sell more tickets by getting people to go to fewer games.

Bpyp5jJCMAAtHZz[1]

It's basically a two-game package of the FSU game and the North Carolina game, comparable to Michigan's mini-packages with Penn State and anything else except incrementally more desperate.

Come on down. Sounds like the Michigan Elite Camp couldn't have gone much better from a recruiting standpoint. UMHoops caught up with Derryck Thornton, Jr.:

“It was probably my best visit, it was great,” Thornton reiterated. “The staff did a great job so that was one of my better visits, if not the best one.” …

“I’m going to wait for my dad to get back and we’re going to talk about that soon,” Thornton responded when asked if he’d think about committing early. “I’m not sure, but I think I’m willing to commit and make the early decision.”

Rivals echoes the confidence($) you might have on their message board—Thornton's dad responded to a question about whether Battle and Thornton will end up in Ann Arbor and got the response "high"—and I'm pretty sure one of the Thorntons—probably the elder—registered for a Scout account so he could assert that Thornton would not stay on the West Coast. It would be excellent to get a commitment by the end of summer.

Meanwhile, Tyus Battle was also impressed

“Michigan was awesome, we had a great time,” Gary said. “Tyus really enjoyed the visit. The coaching staff is very thorough. We really enjoyed their presentation and the campus and the way they would use Tyus. Obviously, academically Michigan is something we like a lot.”

…but doesn't seem like he's anywhere near as likely to drop in the near future. The Big Blue death star looms:

“We’re trying to really focus on Kentucky right now,”Gary Battle told SNY.tv by phone. “That’s always been something we had planned to do and Cal had expressed some high interest in the kid and he’s always wanted to go and check it out.”

Battle will be a… wait for it… battle. If Michigan can secure Thornton, the two guys have said they want to play together. Battle's father:

“And for Tyus, I think a lot of guys want to play with Tyus but Derryck definitely, he’s an easy kid to want to play with as well according to Tyus. They were pretty excited about it cause they consider each other brothers and have known each other for a long time.”

Let's hope that package stays together. FWIW, Battle's father flat-out stated "I think Derryck's going to Michigan."

Given all this, it'll be interesting to see what happens on June 15th. Cassius Winston has checked the offer boxes and is pretty much a five star himself, and KY PG Quentin Goodin says he expects an offer too. If I had to bet, I'd say he ends up disappointed. Winston is on another level and instate. He probably gets one.

Hello, eh. Hockey announces their four late additions: Tony Calderone, Sam Piazza, Niko Porikos, and Alex Talcott. (They're still working on Zach Werenski's accelerated entry, it appears.) The release is the usual but it does give you some indication of where these guys might slot in on the depth chart. Talcott gets "depth" and "energy" mentions and Porikos is compared to Andrew Sinelli; they seem like guys for down the road.

Calderone…

"Tony comes here with the reputation of a player who puts numbers up and has a great shot," associate head coach Billy Powers said. "Offensively, we expect Tony to add to his game here. He's a skilled offensive player who has had two good years in the USHL"

…and Piazza…

"Sam is a defenseman who is not afraid to join the rush," Powers said. "He's got great offensive instincts and we're hoping that he adds some offense at the blue line. We're excited that Sam will have an opportunity to show what he can do early on."

…on the other hand, should compete for spots this fall. The four just announced join Cutler Martin, Dexter Dancs, and Dylan Larkin as incoming freshmen. Chris Heisenberg's listing Werenski as a 2014 recruit, but Michigan likely cannot announce that until he's on campus.

O'Bannon stuff. After eleven hours of questioning directed at a legal expert for the plaintiffs, Tyrone Prothro takes the stand:

Three years after suffering a gruesome career-ending injury in 2005, former Alabama star Tyrone Prothro wrote a book, Catch & Hold. He wanted to include some action shots from his playing career, but upon contacting a university photographer he learned he'd have to buy the images from the school's website for $10 apiece. So, he didn't include them.

Uh… wow. I bet that's just for a download and doesn't even include redistribution rights. Athletes! Do we have a picture of you? You can use it for free. I would like to thank Kevin Trahan for blowing up the NCAA's constant assertions that "hey, you get stuff!" is anything approximating a legal defense.

Oh man. Ramzy instructs you how not to be an asshole to recruits. I do not want to get on the ol' high horse because I've seen my share of miserable awful things from Michigan fans—we have it just as bad—and the linked piece is a fine, fine intra-fanbase immolation. But… wow.

Bpku_umIUAAbNee[1]

AIN'T NO REGULATIONS AGAINST CHILD BRIDES AMIRITE

Maybe 95% as bad.

Etc.: A ruthless fisk of Clay Travis is an auto-link. Early hockey commits are getting nuts. Maine has a seventh-grader committed.

Comments

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments

Unverified Voracity Has Legal Arguments Comment Count

Brian June 10th, 2014 at 11:19 AM

ncaa-football-southern-california-california[1]

so so fast

Not so fast. Incoming transfer Ty Isaac wants to play next year, and has at least some sort of case to do so. Is it enough? While we are talking about an insane organization that could do anything, the consensus is probably not.

"(The family health issue) has to be a debilitating injury," said John Infante, a former NCAA compliance officer who operates the popular "Bylaw Blog" for AthNet. "It doesn't have to be life-threatening, necessarily, but it would have to be something that prevented her from working or getting around, if it's a surgery for hearing loss, I'm not sure if that'll qualify, but it might."

And then the 100-mile thing kicks in. If Isaac was 109 miles away, you could probably fudge the difference. Michigan's distance from Peoria might be problematic.

From Michigan's perspective, moving Isaac a year behind Smith and Green is better for roster balance… but not so good for this year, when offensive production is critical for the perception of the program.

1130378333_f[1]

O'Bannoning. The O'Bannon trial kicked off yesterday, and there were highlights. The NCAA wanted O'Bannon to know that a man he respected thought college athletes should not be paid.

It was determined that Noted Legal Scholar Bill Walton has a legally binding opinion and the case ended 15 minutes later with a comprehensive NCAA victory. : (

In case the previous sentence is not true, you may want to read about the issues addressed on day one of the trial. The NCAA is trying to show that the college experience is worth something, which I guess sure it is. How that relates to publicity rights and the law is… well, there's a reason Bill Walton is getting brought up.

In related news, the NCAA blinks in the Keller case, settling that for 20 million. They have again asserted that current student-athletes who receive a check for their likeness will not have their eligibility compromised, because that's ridiculous. As long as compensation for your likeness is mandated by a court after the fact, you can profit off of it.

"In no event do we consider this settlement pay for athletics performance."

It's just getting paid for something without having to sue they have problems with. Delightfully, the NCAA is going to try to argue that there is no market for college athlete's images after settling two lawsuits in which 60 million dollars have been issued in compensation for those images. Oh, and EA says they would have paid if they could have.

Also a prime NCAA argument: the ban on compensation is required for a level playing f

“If you’ve got a $6 million athletic budget, you shouldn’t be worrying about what I do,” [Washington president Michael] Young contends. “You’re never going to compete with us. We don’t recruit the same players. We don’t even play on the same field. It just doesn’t matter.”

Hm.

A potential factor. The student section is collapsing this year, and MLive has a potential reason why. Prices:

Ohio State -- $252 for 7 games
Penn State -- $218 for 7 games
Wisconsin -- $188 for 7 games
Iowa -- $175 for 7 games, $165 with future alumni group discount
Michigan State -- $175 for 7 games
Nebraska -- $166 for 7 games
Purdue -- $119 for 7 games
Illinois -- $99 for 7 games
Rutgers -- $99 for 6 games
Minnesota -- $90 for 7 games
Indiana -- $60 for 6 games
Maryland and Northwestern -- tickets free with full tuition and student fee payment

Michigan's is 50 bucks more than Ohio State; unlike Ohio State, Michigan is barely above .500 since 2007. And Ohio State has a big game or two on the schedule. Once again, Michael Proppe sounds like the adult:

"We did a survey for students while we were researching the general admission policy, we told them 'assume the price stayed the same, here's the schedule for next year, even if we went back to reserved seating, how many would renew their tickets?' I think it was about 68 percent who said they'd renew.

"(The drop) was pretty predictable, actually, even with going back to a more attractive ticket policy that a lot of people would drop their seats."

And about 68% renewed. It's kind of amazing that it's the student government that had to survey the students.

Brandon:

"What we want is the students who buy tickets to show up," Brandon said. "If what we've done is lost some of the students that really weren't interested in attending, if you're looking at the projected reduction in tickets, that's almost the equivalent of the no-show average we had (last year)."

The no-show rate is not going to go down much, as the kind of people who no-show games aren't the ones for whom three hundred bucks is kind of a big deal. Michael Proppe for athletic director.

Everybody into the pile. I thought Michigan's hockey roster was going to be crowded this fall. Now it's going to be jammed. Michigan picked up a commitment from Ann Arbor native Niko Porikos a couple days back. Porikos is a '93, which means he'll arrive at 21. Generally this is a sign of a gentleman who is destined to be a healthy scratch for most of his career, and… well, yeah, probably.

In Porikos's favor, defensemen do take time to develop, and given the state of the roster it's not like they need a guy to be a practice body.

Michigan has seven defensemen on the roster, plus incoming freshmen Sam Piazza and Cutler Martin. Porikos is number ten…

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!

swe-usa-7980[1]

Zach Werenski and what appears to be a Swedish ten-year old

Michigan has not quite acquired a commitment from U17 defenseman Zach Werenski. Poke a guy on twitter, or especially Mike Spath—who was way out ahead of the story but has to be careful for the same reasons Sam Webb does—and he'll say Werenski is going to be in Ann Arbor. They'll generally do this with an "ugh" because Werenski is kind of a big deal, a potential top ten draft pick, and they are Boston College fans who thought they were going to get him.

The thing is: he's a potential top ten draft pick in 2015, and Werenski is probably going to be playing for Michigan this fall. IE: dude is skipping his senior year of high school. Thus the "eh, maybe" aspect of this whole thing, where Spath drops hints for months and all the news comes from the BC side of things.

Adding Werenski would put Michigan at a whopping 11 defensemen, and while a few of them are not real threats to play (Spencer Hyman redshirted last year; Mike Szuma didn't get a game after playing most of his freshman year), I thought there was some Title IX-related reason that Michigan couldn't have a really big roster. Maybe not? Title IX compliance comes down to a court saying you are or are not, because the law is written pretty vaguely.

While we're on next year's hockey team, Dylan Larkin is ranked ninth by HockeyProspect.com. That's the highest I've seen, and while he's more likely to go in the 20s than the top ten it does seem at this point that he's likely to go in the first round unlike some of Michigan's recent projected first rounders (Compher, Merrill).

So it's come to this. I assume that Erin Lennon of the Daily has not been around too long, so let me gently suggest that this

…expect Porikos and Michigan’s underclassmen to play key roles in coach Red Berenson’s defensive-minded system.

…is more a product of sad circumstance than intent, and that if you insist on claiming that Red Berenson is some sort of trap aficionado I will become desolately sad.

It was football. Someone remind me next year when the European American Football Championships are on, because when Germany and Austria face off you get reverse passes and squat kickers doing the Manziel:

Turns out the Germans and the Austrians have some bad blood here, and that's all you really need.

Etc.: Graham Glasgow was driving a merry car indeed. The NCAA hasn't even bothered to investigate North Carolina. The NCAA would probably prefer it if Washington's president would stop saying things. Mathlete's Lego stadiums make Yahoo.

Sonny Vaccaro's long feud with the NCAA is culminating in the O'Bannon case. EVEN MORE O'BANNON. Stauskas preps for the draft. This headline sounds inflammatory but it's really not.

Comments