Submitted by Brian on July 30th, 2014 at 1:06 PM

I used to fisk things, back in the long long ago when people referred to the "MSM" seriously and I had a tiny platform compared to the people writing dumb things that annoyed me. These days most of those people are in other jobs and I gradually got over the fact that Someone Is Wrong On The Internet.

If that paragraph sounds like one big run up to me fisking the everloving pants off of something, yuuuuup. It's a teenager rage tactic from the dawn of mom's basement jokes. And it is absolutely required for this.


I got so mad at Matt Hayes writing things on the internet once that I called him "Horseface," which I was not proud of for a long time. I retroactively retract that shame. To the fiskmobile.

They’ve tried it all, and nothing has worked. Conditioning, suspension, rehabilitation. Even outright dismissal.

The prison system of America: overcrowded, broken, scourge of the inner city. This is an unusual topic for Matt Hayes.

Yet here we are, heading into a new era of college football with a brand new postseason, and the same old problems exist: players can’t seem to control themselves behaviorally off the field — no matter the consequences.

Oh goddammit. I have no idea what Matt Hayes's audience is these days since the Sporting News has died so many times cats are impressed but it must consist heavily of people who buy gold from Glenn Beck at 5 AM and think we should deport the Irish.

There is no college football crime spree. When SI did a study a few years ago they came back with the disturbing news that 7% of all college football players had been charged with a crime. That's terrible! Unless you look up the stats that say half of all black males and 40% of white males are arrested by 23. And that's just being charged, not convicted.

It turns out that professional aspirations and the threat of running stadium steps are in fact a great motivator to stay out of trouble.

“Because,” one Power 5 coach told Sporting News, “we can’t reach them where it matters most.”

Their penis.

That place, everyone, is the NFL.

I still think it's… let's come back to this.

If this were a relationship, it would have been dissolved long ago. College football gives everything to the NFL in every way, shape and form. The NFL gives nothing in return.

Now it’s time for the NFL, which for decades has thrived with the backdrop of a free minor league system that recruits, trains, teaches and ministers to young men before they step foot into the multi-billion dollar business, to give back.

Free minor league? What the…? I mean, yeah, the NCAA does act as a talent feeder, but the NFL only came into existence because the NCAA made football so popular that people tried and failed to make it into a nationwide pro sport for decades after Yost built a stadium that seated 100k. The NCAA is absolutely overrun with cash. The NFL doesn't owe it anything because it is impossible to owe a machine that prints money something. College football exists because it is profitable to exist, and not because of the NFL.

That means giving back the only way they can: controlling the flow of future money.

Shit is about to get real. This is the last semi-sane sentence here.

You want college football cleaned up?

No. We are currently making fun of how Mark Richt has lost control of everything because his players continually get in moped incidents.

Your article about the RASH OF ARRESTS SPIRALLING OUT OF CONTROL includes two marijuana possession charges, a DUI, an "obstructing governmental operations" misdemeanor, five guys who were immediately booted from their teams, and then four incidents spread across 120 teams that are serious-ish and still pending resolution. One of those is, yes, a moped joyride. I'm surprised Jameis Winston's crab legs aren't on there.

You want players who get second, third and fourth chances to finally see the game really is about both football and an education and learning about living and surviving and growing on your own?

I would like to see a system in which 75% fewer arrests transpire! But we already have…

You want this seemingly endless string of player arrests and violence against women to end?






Hit the players where it matters most:

Their penis.

future earnings.

That was my second choice.

The NFL can make this very simple and succinct. Any college player interested in employment in the league must pass a background check, and if they have a history of arrests or off-field issues, they immediately are moved into a — here’s the key — significantly lower earning bracket for the first four years of their employment.

How significant? Well below league minimum, or about $50,000-$75,000 a year.

Take a guess what the average league lifespan is for a player: four years.

The NFL can make it very simple if they negotiate an entirely new CBA that strips people with a history of "off-field issues"—like not even arrests—of potentially millions of dollars even if they're the top pick in the draft. Where is the line here? Does a pot arrest trigger it? How about a theft that got diverted into something that doesn't pop up on your criminal record?

And while this isn't relevant to the thrust of the article, let me state that saying "here's the key" when your platform is one plank long makes me want to flush your computer down a toilet, horseface. To have a "key" you have to have things that are more or less important, and it is impossible for a thing to be more or less important than itself. Obviously. Horseface.

“You have to understand, it’s more than just suspending a player and saying you’re going to miss X number of games for what you did,” said Alabama coach Nick Saban. “You have to change the behavior; you have to change the way the player thinks and acts.”

What better way than by taking away his ability to earn?

Yeah man why not just steal millions of dollars away from poor people who screwed up once because the Olds are scared of 'em.

I mean obviously the criminal justice system that looked at whatever these violations are and said "eh, do your time" is completely incapable of preventing this country from descending into a lawless morass. Let's take over from them. That is outside the justice system's core competency and right in ours.

This drastic yet necessary turn takes the onus off schools and the presidents of those schools to police behavior, the same people who have proven over and over that they have too much invested in players to make decisions that could impact those investments.

"Necessary." Because college football players get arrested one fourth as often as the average Joe.

“No one wants to look at this for what it is,” said another Power 5 conference coach. “It’s a vicious cycle.”

A vicious cycle is a feedback loop. The theory here is apparently that football players getting arrested and catching hell or getting booted by their coaches makes other football players more likely to commit crimes. I can only imagine this quote comes from Tim Beckmann, who tells his toaster every morning not to viciously cycle his bread, and then finds out he's talking to the washing machine again.

The first logical hurdle would be the NFL Players Association, which would be against anything that limits earning ability. But in the long run, it benefits both the NFL and the NFLPA to have players who understand right from wrong; who comprehend that every decision has consequences.

I mean Ray Lewis kind of murdered a dude. You know that, right? A guy ended up dead largely because of Ray Lewis, and the NFL fined him a quarter-million dollars and said "don't do it again." Nobody noticed or cared. If you want the NFL to fix college kids it is possible they should start with themselves.

You don’t punch someone in the head, and a year later, get picked in the second round of the draft and make significant money.

You don’t slap a woman, and a year later, get picked in the second round of the draft and make significant money.

It’s not like we’re breaking ground with this idea. Players will find in the real world, where you don’t get paid to play a game, employers don’t look too favorably on those with criminal records. And if they do, it certainly isn’t for much more than an entry-level job with minimum pay — until the employee proves to be worthy of more.

Even aside from guys named Ray who play for Baltimore, have you ever read any of the copious anonymous crap your own damn magazine publishes about players every time the draft rolls around? The NFL's official site said Johnny Manziel had an "outlaw mentality"! The NFL is constantly probing every potential mental gap and making tut-tutting judgments about every player. Those last until the instant that player proves he's pretty good in the NFL, and then you can knock your damn wife unconscious and you get a lesser suspension than Terrelle Pryor got for getting some free tattoos.

This is the way the world works. The sooner players understand and grasp this concept, the better for all involved.

The way the world works: pretend it never happened and refuse to apologize until people forget about it. This is my advice to you about this column.

Unverified Voracity Swings Really Hard At Tee Ball

Unverified Voracity Swings Really Hard At Tee Ball

Submitted by Brian on April 29th, 2014 at 2:41 PM

I think it's really happening. Mike Babcock-to-Michigan rumors have just been turned up to 11:

That is quite a statement: "eh, if I don't continue to coach one of the most storied franchises in the NHL I'll just go be Red's assistant." If Michigan sticks to the plan that would be a one-year apprenticeship before the job came open.

Oh really. Paging Captain Renault: Mitch McGary's drug test won't impact his draft stock.

"No, not really, because you know what, probably 70 percent of the league does that (smokes marijuana)," the scout told MLive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

But what about the spirit of sport, NBA? What about the spirit of sport?

"Appropriate." Matt Hayes walks up to the unionization issue on a tee and takes a Casey-like swing:

So if we’re going to do this; if we’re going to call athletes employees (or whatever you want to call them) and expand benefits and increase their ability to market and make money off themselves, the consequences for violating rules must be swift and appropriate.

Gone are the days where Troy Smith can take $500 from a booster, sit out a bowl game, get reinstated and two years later finish his career by winning the Heisman Trophy.

If you take $500 from a booster now, you lose eligibility. Permanently.

Hayes, prone on the ground, cartoon birds circling his head. The tee, untouched.

The average Troy Smith is still going to get the money, but will not be punished. Ramping up penalties for infractions that 99% of offenders will not get caught for is like throwing people in jail for speeding.

I mean, who cares? Who cares that Troy Smith now has 500 dollars? Level playing field, you say?




Gone are the days of second, third and fourth chances as it relates to— take your pick— arrests (and convictions), academic failure, failed drug tests (performance enhancing or recreational), or any behavior that harms a university’s reputation.

Let me just direct you to the quote above about Mitch McGary. Or, you know, society. The society in which those first time arrests and convictions generally result in probation or diversion so that people can have a second chance. If people were held to the standards Matt Hayes is advocating for newly professional-ish college athletes, unemployment would run around 50% and include Matt Hayes.

Let's goooooo. The News profiles now-critical Mark Donnal, collecting the various encouraging quotes about him that have been dropping in the past couple months:

“He’s definitely displayed a couple of specific skill sets,” Alexander said. “Mark is a tremendous passer, both in traffic and on the perimeter. His shooting range makes him a capable and reliable pick-and-pop jump shooter on the perimeter.

“He has a great face-up game in the post. The thing he discovered through added strength is the ability to rebound the ball in traffic.”

With sufficient three-point range to drag posts out to the perimeter, Michigan's post guys are liable to find shotblockers absent when they get by their guys. It'll be interesting to see what happens Walton and LeVert's shooting percentage at the rim when Donnal is out there providing Beilein his first shooting five since his arrival in Ann Arbor. I'm more concerned about his defense and rebounding—by the end there, Jordan Morgan was in beast mode.

Bacari is at least making the right noises about where he's headed:

“The thing that really excites me as his position coach is that nasty edge that he brings to the table, as well.”

He also has an interesting quote about how at Michigan "you are who you can guard," and the offense takes care of itself. Donnal will start at the five—out of necessity now—and has some ability to move out to the four as he "continues to improve his conditioning and lateral quickness." Given the composition of Michigan's roster the next couple years it doesn't seem like he'll be spending much, if any, time at the 4.

How much thing X irritates coaches, officially. Michigan's defensive grading system seems a little out of whack to me:


Like… forcing a fumble—hit the ballcarrier with enough force to make him drop the ball—is way harder than recovering one—get lucky, fall down. And what counts as a "missed tackle"? Missed tackles come in all shapes and sizes: you can let someone outside of you for a huge gain, which is super super bad, or you can not quite get a guy down but delay him enough that the cavalry rallies to stop him a yard after you would have. I'm guessing that latter probably counts as a tackle and the former gets a CRITICAL ERROR added to it.

Even so, it seems like "missed assignment" is the worst of all possible things. Missed assignments are touchdowns waiting to happen. When I do the UFRs some guy doing something that doesn't make any sense gets a serious downgrade and most of the coach types who have commented seem to agree with that assessment.

But being a coach is always a compromise between what you actually think in your head and what you think is the best way to get 85 guys doing a complicated thing well. See: the entire concept of "coachspeak." Or "Devin Gardner might start."

Just don't advertise it during games. Michigan Stadium is now open for prom:

Michigan Stadium is getting ready for prom season as part of a push to use the home of Wolverines football for more events during the offseason.

About 230 students from Durand High School, about 45 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, will take the field May 10 — the first time the Big House has hosted a prom, The Ann Arbor News reported ( ). And Dexter High School's prom is there May 17.

Hooray incremental revenue, as long as incremental revenue is not flogged at my ears during the games. See also: weddings, facebook, twitter, nonrevenue sports.

Everywhere, all the time. Ramzy on Ohio State's version of creating the future is worth your time:

Ohio State does not belong to you. You just happen to work there at this moment - you're stewards for a rich inheritance you're passing along to someone else that no one will ever cash. That's what Ohio State is. You did not build this brand. You can only damage or improve it.

And you should find as many ways as possible to give it away for free. Businesses do this all the time because it gives them a great return and it's terrific exposure for future buyers. Future buyers. This is where we talk about the children who don't have wealthy parents or opportunities to embark on a wallet-crushing fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium.

Also in this genre is a post from Get The Picture, a Georgia blog:

It’s not like money is a problem in Athens.  It’s just that there seems to be little thought to spending it in a way that makes the fan base content.  I think back to the shameful way North Campus was treated before Michael Adams had his hissy fit and essentially shut down the tailgate experience; much of that could have been resolved with better security, more restroom facilities and a reasonable amount of attention paid to trash removal.  None of that is exactly back-breaking from a financial standpoint for a school with Georgia’s resources.  It’s just that no one in a position to improve things could be bothered with it.  And that’s a story you could repeat in many other ways.

Instead, we’re offered enhanced wi-fi, ever more intrusive piped in music and goofy sideshows like yesterday’s mascot abomination as a solution.  But I don’t weigh the prospect of live attendance on the basis of my short-term attention span.  The home experience is about greater comfort and convenience.  I don’t wait to go to the kitchen for a drink, my bathroom smells nice and I can always find a place to park.  This is the lesson I’m afraid McGarity and his AD peers are missing.  I want what I got yesterday – a feeling that the money I’m shelling out is somehow being spent to benefit my experience in a way that gives me what I have at home, while making me feel glad I came.

I also recommend the comments, this one in particular:

UGA AA for so long thought that buying a ticket was the only way to gt a good view. Then 27 inch crt color television gave ay to 60′ HD home theaters and the Butts-Mehre suits haven’t yet figured out how to compete without creating something to sell.

Georgia fans are basically the Michigan fans of the SEC and they're experiencing the same things, albeit with less of a swoon with their football program. The comparison they're making here is to the Masters, which is a fantastic example of an organization successfully creating a culture of otherness that makes it in fact special. While that comes with costs—see women and minority membership—they're holding onto their fanbase because they make it feel good to be a fan. I can't say I remember the last thing Michigan did that was a step in that direction.

That reminds me of a thing I think I failed to relate when it happened: before the Nebraska game this year I was walking to my family's tailgate. As I neared the stadium the jumbotron was showing me the previous week's game… against Michigan State. Devin Gardner got annihilated and intercepted and I was like "feels bad, man."

It was the previous week's Not Michigan Replay, it turned out, and I just thought to myself "is there literally no one in the athletic department with the common sense to not show Michigan fans highlights of a game in which they rushed for –48 yards?" People are just in charge of things for no reason.

The ultimate Pandora's Box question. Oh, man. As scaremongering anti-union/reform questions go, this is the best/worst:

Could boosters treat recruiting like the Wild West?

oh no what would that look like

Etc.: Why the O'Bannon case is a duel to the death. At least everyone hates the way the McGary thing went down. More evidence that Michigan's upper reaches are inappropriately secretive. Jordan Morgan report card. Talking with Ricky Doyle. The Big Ten basketball powerhouse.