Dear Diary Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Dear Diary Ain't Too Proud to Beg

Submitted by Seth on July 18th, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Aint too proud to beg

My vote: the OTHER Big Chill at the Big House

We've been collecting unheralded diaries for several weeks. Let's herald them.

[TRUMPETS OF HERALDRY: bah dah dah dah dah dit daaaaaaaah!]

Michael Scarn asks the big question: if college sports are corrupt and we hate the guys who are running them, do we continue to go? I say go, and grumble. My thing about my dad was 5% inspired by this diary, because my response to it that I didn't write had about the same point: the complaints are valid but they're not the whole thing or even most of the thing. Most of the thing is kids from your college are playing on recently reattached ACLs and you're on a bench next to someone who will never forget being next to you on that bench on that day.

Money talks but it's not the only thing that does so. Write emails. Call into WTKA. Attach a strongly worded letter with your check explaining this is the last one they'll get. No matter how unreasonable they seem, keep giving them every chance to be reasonable.

Mich1993 has been going over the depth chart to see how the recovery's coming from Michigan's Notriguez-to-Rodriguez-to-Notriguez adventure. In Part I he went over the various position groups; CB, LB, and DE appear fine but safety and DT are "mild concerns." On offense the skill positions are strengths and the meaty parts look awfully uncooked. Part II compares it to the depth of 2013 and expected depth of 2015.

LSAClassof2000 put together a thing not nearly enough of you read that compares the SEC and Big Ten's volume of contribution to the NFL. Brian already linked the one where he showed Michigan was one of the top NFL producers in the '90s and now is Minnesota. The aggregate shows us falling behind.


We just passed Alabama who's going just as swiftly in the other direction. Hi Alabama. Tell Nebraska hello for us when you see him and we'll do the same to Auburn.

Guides to other sports. Since soccer is now Germany's sport everybody start calling soccer things German words:

Soccer is no longer "Football", it is now Fußball.
A Team is no longer a "Side", it is now a Mannschaft.
A Game is no longer a "Match", it is now a Spiel.

Nice spiel.

Reshp1 is watching the Tour de France, or as my agricultural consultancy business family members call(ed) it: "Le Tour de Corn" because they use it to gauge how European corn is growing this year.

Yes I do mean cycling is less interesting than watching corn grow.

I used to know a guy who rode his bicycle across part of the U.S. that included South Dakota, and who used the ride across South Dakota to write a song called "I Won't Cry When I Leave South Dakota." Look for sadeto's hit single "There's Nothing Between Lansing and Grand Rapids" in a month or so.

[jump for controversy on the board]

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

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

Submitted by BiSB on 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.


Unverified Voracity Was Bonkers Yesterday

Unverified Voracity Was Bonkers Yesterday

Submitted by Brian on May 19th, 2014 at 12:29 PM

HELLO LADIES (not like that). If you took in yesterday's softball double-header you got 14 innings of tension, home runs, and dugout gibbering capped by what has to be the nuttiest final inning I've seen in the sport: Michigan, down one, clubs back-to-back first-pitch homers off one of the best pitchers in the country to go up one, then puts someone on base for the final batter, who hits a rocket that



NOPE. Michigan had just blasted a ball over the centerfield fence that none of the outfielders bothered to move on, and this particular ball seemed harder-hit than that. It must have been on more of a line or really temporarily heavy or something. CF Lindsay Doyle was given an opportunity for the walk-off rob of a potential walk-off homer, which she took.

Even Carol Hutchins, an outpost of Red-like reserve in a sport that has a lot of jumping up and down, was momentarily baffled into GIF-worthiness.


You and me both. The catch was Sportcenter's #1 play, which is pretty remarkable on a day that had plenty of baseball and NBA action.

Michigan advances to their ninth super regional in ten years of the current format; they'll travel to Tallahassee to take on the #8 overall seed Florida State. FSU is hosting their first super ever at an impressive 53-6. The best two of three series kicks off Thursday at 7 on ESPN.

Victory. The Michigan money cannon remains undefeated:

EDSBS Bowl 2K14 closed at midnight last night, and the total for the week's fundraising is staggering and very much awesome: $33,250.85 raised for Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta, all from your contributions. …

University of Michigan $10,183.68

University of Georgia $4,024.20

Notre Dame $2,249.32

University of Alabama $1,977.55

Georgia Institute of Technology $1,969.72

Auburn University $1,716.40

Well done, gentlemen. I have excellent news: in honor of the cannon, RRISA is naming their conference room something Michigan themed. Orson has asked us for suggestions, so I throw it open to the MGoPeanutGallery. Please keep in mind that we are trying to retain people's goodwill, so something like "Leaders and Best (unlike all non grads)" would not be good.


[11:27 AM] Spencer Hall: If there's a huge Michigan painting, they'll put it up there
[11:27 AM] Spencer Hall: seriously

Anyone that wants to provide a candidate shoot me an email.

Stauskas time. Nik Stauskas didn't shoot at the NBA combine but that's not to say he didn't shoot at all in the past week. A few gents put on a workout beforehand, and Stauskas proved that he is the unstoppable workout freak($) that you may have seen on youtube:

None of them disappointed Monday. During early shooting drills, Stauskas had the lead early, hitting 47 of his first 50 attempts. At the end of the workout, it was McDermott who couldn't miss, beating everyone with 13 3-pointers in 35 seconds. … Each player takes roughly 100 3-point attempts during a workout. On most days, Stauskas and McDermott are shooting about 85 percent. That's really remarkable.

That is nuts.

Chad Ford also notes that Stauskas looked "terrific" in the various ballhandling drills at this workout and is… wait for it… also grab a beer… "making a play to be more than just a shooter." While Stauskas isn't likely to be an NBA PG unless his team wants him to gently escort opposing points to the basket, his ability to get his own shot and excellent P&R skills will see him be more than just a shooter. Ford has Stauskas #12 now and thought he was upwardly mobile even before he put up impressive combine numbers:

Michigan's Nik Stauskas and Creighton's Doug McDermott really shined, as well. Stauskas was especially impressive. He measured with a 35.5-inch max vert, a 10.79 lane agility score, a 2.92 shuttle run and a 3.27 sprint. Those were all very good numbers and should boost his draft stock.

I know you are thinking about what I am thinking: what about the Pistons? Detroit needs shooting, and they need someone who can run a pick and roll with Andre Drummond without resorting to miserable off-balance jumpers. DX's latest mock has them taking McDermott. While that makes sense, as currently constituted Detroit could use a guy who can play 1-3 with bad defense a lot more than a guy who can play 3-4 with bad defense. Also, McDermott seems constitutionally incapable of being an okay defender because he's such a tweener; a hypothetical NBA Stauskas coached by Stan Van Gundy could be all right down the road, especially if Caldwell-Pope can be the 3-and-D guy.

If Detroit stays at eight I'd say there's a pretty good chance Stauskas ends up being the player who makes the most sense. Other than McDermott, guards/wings available at eight are likely to include Tyler Ennis, James Young, Rodney Hood, Gary Harris, and Zach LaVine. Only Hood and McDermott are in Stauskas's universe as a shooter, and Gary Harris being more 6'2" than 6'4" probably eliminates him.

Also in Michigan draftee news, DX's post-combine mock has Robinson and McGary as the last two picks of the first round.

All right, all right. Eighty-seven people have emailed or tweeted me about the latest indicator that things aren't going well on the season ticket front, so I am compelled to reproduce it:


The existence of such a thing isn't much of a surprise… except you'd think they'd translate "Added Value Opportunities" into English before releasing it to the world. The outstanding quality of the athletic department is how remarkably ham-handed they are at being marketers. This is supposedly Brandon's expertise and he's throwing powerpoint slides at the public.

The lord's work. Deadspin continues its excellent series demolishing bad arguments the NCAA tries to muster in its favor. The latest to meet the guillotine: competitive balance.

…my own research in 2011 showed that of the 1,000 top recruited athletes over a decade, 99.3 percent went to power conference schools. … the truth is that the current rules seem to lock in imbalance, and prevent would-be upstarts from building recruiting momentum.

That makes intuitive sense. A team can't put its money where its mouth is if it really really wants a guy that another school wants. When compensation is fixed* all choices are about things other than compensation.

And since it's currently impossible to make the system more unbalanced…

*[I guess it does technically move based on the value of a degree from school X. That is not going to be a huge consideration for many football players. See: every player ever citing academics as a reason he went to school Y, no matter what that school is. "I have chosen Wyoming School Of Finger Twiddling for its excellent academics," etc.]

Pyrrhic press conferences for 1000. When the press gets the temerity to ask a question that leads to this answer…

"No buyer's remorse at all," Delany said Wednesday after the Big Ten administrators' meetings. "When I go to Jersey, I go to New York, I go to support, not to judge."

…things are not going well in the PR realm. Jim Delany just described visiting his sister in rehab.

No surrender. O'Bannon plaintiffs have asked the court to ditch the individual damages in their lawsuit and, as a side effect, ditch the jury.

The plaintiffs' lead attorney, Michael Hausfeld, told ESPN that forgoing the effort to seek damages for the individuals who are named in the lawsuit streamlines the case, making it all about stopping the NCAA from continuing to prevent athletes from sharing in the media revenues they help generate. …

The filing by the plaintiffs aims to focus all of the attention on whether the NCAA's economic model should be changed. It's an attempt to avoid the messiness of sorting out who may have been harmed for past wrongs, and to what degree.

That would be the NCAA's worst nightmare, as judge Claudia Wilken is the person issuing statements like "I don't think amateurism is going to be a useful word here." It seems like the NCAA's best shot is to bamboozle a jury with the arguments Deadspin is currently blowing up.

As with any story about the O'Bannon lawsuit, we have a new opportunity to point and laugh at the NCAA's beleaguered lawyers.

The NCAA objected to the new move by Hausfeld to drop the damages claim. The association's lawyers wrote Wednesday night that they were "surprised and troubled by the Plaintiffs' last minute and abrupt decision to attempt to avoid having a jury decide" the case, calling it a "last ditch effort to change course in this litigation."

…Hausfeld dismissed the NCAA's argument.

"There's always been a damages claim and an injunctive claim," he said. "If they haven't been paying attention to the injunctive claim, it's inexplicable."

Well, they are very busy these days.

It'll be a while. Brian Kelly said something about playing Michigan, so everyone gets asked about it again. Dave Brandon has had "zero talks" with Notre Dame about resuming the series. It would take a lot of pride-swallowing for Brandon to do such a thing. The chances of that seem… low.

The earliest Michigan and ND will talk about playing again will be after both places have new athletic directors, and even then they'll be scheduling ten years out. This year's game is the last for probably 20 years. Well done, college football.

Old mascots are always the best. If you could guarantee me that Michigan's hypothetical mascot would look like it was put together at the local insane asylum's arts and crafts night, I would be on board. Hellmascot part 4,210 is MSU, 1966:


No, no money for athletes. Somehow all of this manages to get sucked up despite MSU not adding sports:

"I think it was about 2000, our budget was right around $25 million and today it's $94 million," Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis said. "And it's real easy to take a quick look on where the allocation of those funds have gone, and so much of it — there is the coaching salary component that kind of stands out."

Wait, save that!

"But there's a much larger chunk that has gone to escalation of scholarships and services provided."

All right. What might these things be?

"It used to be a coach and a trainer kind of handled everything. Well now there's somebody to teach you how to cook, there's somebody on some campuses that do the cooking, that show you how to shop."

They have to invent ways to burn this money. That is the situation. They are so far up their own butts that they think they should be taught to cook and shop like they're in finishing school with Betty Draper. How about you give them the money and they decide whether they should spend it on a guy teaching them how to shop* or, like, anything else.

Meanwhile, Michigan made a profit of 90 million dollars from 2007-08 to 12-13, an average profit of $15 million per year. That's going to be great when I get my dividend check.

*["So this green stuff I have… I hand it to the man behind the counter. You don't get any green stuff. But if you had some green stuff, you could give it to the man behind the counter"]

Etc.: I still can't believe Gordon F. Gee was paid like 12 times what an average university president makes. GRIII did well at the combine. No beer at Michigan, because I would do anything for money but I won't do that. Good on Mark Schissel for making Michigan's compensation structure more transparent. Maryland previewed. TJ Leaf has a top four and is visiting soon.

Unverified Voracity Bats Eyelashes

Unverified Voracity Bats Eyelashes

Submitted by Brian on May 8th, 2014 at 12:39 PM


Harris had ten points on four shot equivalents in last year's matchup.

Open the floodgates. As you've probably heard, WVU transfer Eron Harris got his paperwork and immediately spoke to a gentleman of distinction:

That is quite interesting. Harris, a DO WANT shooter, is essentially a class of 2015 guy who will be super-ready to play with two years of eligibility. But after taking MAAR and Aubrey Dawkins, there's no question that grabbing him seriously impinges on Michigan's ability to promise 2015 kids like Jalen Brunson and Jalen Coleman playing time—and their ability to offer scholarships. (Maybe less so Brunson since he is more of a PG, but with Walton likely still around Michigan's pitch has to center around the two of them playing at the same time.)

Do you grab that guy? Since Michigan's having a hard time holding onto guards for more than a couple years, I would say yup. Harris is also less of a deterrent to the 2016 kids Michigan seems to be doing very well with since he'll be around a maximum of one year after their arrival.

In the flurry of articles following that tweet two things became clear. One, being closer to home is not as much of a priority as the right fit

"The fit is more important that the location (of the school)," Harris said. "Eron is used to seeing his brothers and family more than he has the past couple years. But if he has to go to New York or California to find the right fit, then that's what he'll do."

…and two, Michigan's going to have to put on its prettiest dress and bat its eyes:

Within two hours of getting his release, Harris had already been contacted by Butler, Indiana and Purdue as well as Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA.

Harris is a terrific get-your-own-shot shooter who would have an apprenticeship before seeing the floor. If he's fleeing Huggy Bear because of fit, Beilein is pretty much the opposite… and this quote all but begs you to read between the lines:

“It is going to be the place that I can be myself,” said Harris. “I want to be myself. I want to go out there and play basketball and love playing basketball. I am a competitor first, and I want to play instinctively. That is it. I want my coach to respect me and I will respect him."

The art of shade, man.

OPEN THE PRETZEL. One WI SG Brevin Pritzl, a shooting guard out of Wisconsin, blew up over the past couple of weeks of AAU tourneys. This has intrigued Michigan, who's bringing him in for a visit this weekend. An offer is probably not in the offing unless they're really serious about moving on from the dawdling Jalen Coleman, but he's a guy to keep an eye on down the road.

2016 priorities. MI PG Cassius Winston is a highly-rated gentleman in his own right, one who Michigan has a lot of interest in. He's waiting for an offer this summer, but not in June:

“I’m pretty sure, if I know correctly, that I’ll be offered by the end of the summer,” Winston said on Saturday at the Spiece Memorial Run-n-Slam.

To me that says Michigan is going to give Derryck Thornton the first crack before they expand their PG POV. That expresses a level of confidence that Michigan didn't have when they went after Derrick Walton; they offered the other instate PG, Monte Morris, at the same time.

In other Thornton news, current main competitor Arizona picked up their second 2015 commit from a highly-rated PG, which can't hurt.

Hibbity hooblah! It's NFL draft time, hooray. Taylor Lewan will go in the first 15 picks tonight; Jeremy Gallon and Michael Schofield are likely to follow in the next two days. Baumgardner profiles Gallon:

"We've had dozens of guys go off to college and (not make it)) that had circumstances a lot better than Jeremy's," said Rick Darlington, Gallon's former coach at Apopka High School. "He had to fight to get into college. Then he had to fight to stay in college. Then he had to fight to get on the field.

"You look at him now, and it's easy to say he was a great college player in the end. But it was never as easy for him as it was for others. He always had to struggle ... it didn't come easy."

Gallon had to take three classes after his graduation just to get to Ann Arbor, which I know is something that was a problem with admissions. Not in Gallon's specific case, necessarily, but in the sheer numbers of guys Rodriguez recruited that needed serious help. Michigan would not look at Gallon today even if he was 6'4" because hypothetical rising senior Gallon's grades would make them move on.

On the one hand, some guys come through and become Jeremy Gallon. On the other, attrition watch.

In other news, Hoke defends Taylor Lewan again.

I didn't expect anything different, but wow. Various NCAA personages are appearing in front of a congressional committee today to talk about unionization. There is a lot of ludicrous stonewalling like the Stanford AD refusing to state how much his coaches make when you can google it in five seconds—the answer is three million dollars—but nothing quite so faceplam inducing as congressmen taking up irrelevant talking points that have already been eviscerated and left for dead while waving his iPad around:

Congressman Roe then resumed playing Candy Crush Saga before a brief nap, so he missed this riposte:

People in congress are just in congress for no reason.

Anger bit. Jim Delany talked to USA Today for two extensive pieces, one of which makes me involuntarily shake my fist at nothing in particular when Delany has the balls to make this assertion:

Q: Eight games vs. nine is a hot topic right now. What was the driving force behind the Big Ten going to nine conference games?

A: For us, it's a combination of things. One is the Playoff. Another thing is we're going to get larger (as a conference), we're going to play each other more. We want to be a conference.

Well, you were, Jim. And then somebody had to chase money in a nonsensical way, thanks to the faulty assumption that the current setup wherein sports leagues can involuntarily tax non-fans is going to last in an era of streaming.

This is not a "conference":

What I really like is that every athlete in the Big Ten who plays football will play every opponent inside the four-year period. That's what I like.

That is more of a conference than the SEC's setup where crossover teams without protected rivalries see each other once every six years, but Michigan hasn't played Wisconsin in four years. They may as well be in the Big 12. Going forward they will play the other division less than half the time.

I feel that this has to be intentional trolling. I mean I just…

There is subset of MBAs who have their own opposite-day dialect of the English language.

Simplify : offense :: aggressive : defense. "Seven ways that Lane Kiffin will change Alabama's offense" unfortunately doesn't include "make it squintier" but does include this familiar refrain:

3. Playbook simplified

One change won't be too obvious from the seats or living rooms. After playing with in an offense known for complicated terminology, players see a difference in Kiffin's style.

"Some coaches and quarterbacks over-analyze things at times," receiver Amari Cooper said. "Sometimes it can be pitch and catch, let the play-makers make plays."

Cooper, the leading receiver each of the past two years, also likes the in-game adjustments he saw from game film.

"Coach Kiffin calls plays based on matchups and what he sees," Cooper said. "Like I said before, it's a simple offense. If he sees they are in man-to-man coverage and I have a hitch route, it converts if he's close to me, we are going to throw a little fade route and make something out of it."

I really need Al Borges to get hired somewhere so there can be an article about how he's going to simplify offense X.

That article includes obvious balderdash like "finding the playmakers" as if that's a huge overlooked priority for an outfit that saw AJ McCarron throw for 9.1 yards a pop with a 28:7 TD:INT ratio and rushed for 5.8 yards a carry without even removing sacks. But it also gives you some insight into what Nussmeier does:

2. Fullback added

Alabama's been primarily a one-back running team during the Saban era. They used an H-back to help clear the way, but it sounds like the Tide will be using a more traditional fullback in 2014.

Michigan's picked up a one-back offensive coordinator just in time for their four-man fullback crop to ripen. To H-back you go, gentlemen.

Etc.: scouting reports are creepy. Remember when John Beilein was not a golden colossus? Why Nick Saban hates the hurry up. Former MI SF AJ Turner is now prepping in NH and might be a guy to keep an eye on if Coleman doesn't work out.

You'll Figure It Out, I'm Sure

You'll Figure It Out, I'm Sure

Submitted by Brian on April 23rd, 2014 at 1:42 PM


I missed a lawsuit. This is how it's going for the NCAA these days: I managed to overlook a new lawsuit they're facing. Drumroll:

Former University of Minnesota football player Kendall Gregory-McGhee is suing the NCAA, SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 over capping scholarships below the actual cost of attendance listed by universities. The suit was filed in federal court in Northern California, the same location where a similar case was brought in March by former West Virginia running back Shawne Alston against the same parties.

I in fact missed the Alston lawsuit, as well. This is not the Jeffery Kessler lawsuit, but the court is deciding whether to roll all these things into one. Blood in the water, man.

The Alston and Gregory-McGhee suits are alleging that the NCAA is bad because it's capping scholarships below the full cost of attendance while Kessler wants to blow the whole thing up, so there is a case the cases will remain separate.

One thing that we'll know for sure in the near future: whether or not the NCAA has lawyer-cloning capabilities. Change is coming.

When it comes, certain people are going to become smarter overnight. One of the most common rhetorical gambits deployed in the service of the status quo is The Avalanche Of Supposedly Unanswerable Questions that will suffocate college sports once Pandora's Box is opened. They are hilarious when they come from a newspaper columnist, since the answers to most of them are "duh":

To understand just how erroneous and ill-serving Ohr’s ruling is, ask yourself some simple questions. If Kain Colter is an exploited laborer, then is a female tennis player at Stanford an exploited laborer, too? Is a lacrosse player at Virginia an exploited laborer? Is a rower at Harvard?

The NCAA is made up of 15,000 institutions and 20-odd sports. What’s the bargaining unit? Is it just football and basketball players who can unionize? Or all scholarship athletes? Can a freshman demand as much pay as a senior? Is there seniority? Can women demand equal pay — and if not, why not?

That's Sally Jenkins in the Washington Post, and those questions go on for another five paragraphs, all of them seemingly asked by a person who has been hiding in an East German bunker since 1989. Attn Ms. Jenkins: the green stuff can be exchanged for goods and services, and is acquired by participating in the economy.

It is yet another level of hilarity when the people directly involved with the enterprise throw up their hands when it is suggested that any other system is even possible. When Mark Emmert is proposing a Supposedly Unanswerable Question…

…you don't just ruthlessly fisk someone who has a job at a newspaper for no discernible reason. You get to scream "THIS IS YOUR JOB." It is Mark Emmert's job to figure out how the NCAA is run, or at least to organize the fractious community under him that does so. He more than anyone else is in a position to say, "you know, certain aspects of the college sports experience are required to maintain its popularity and certain other aspects are not." Instead he sits and… well, "plays" dumb is the idiom that usually goes here. Recent statements suggest it is no act. Plays dumber, I guess.

Emmert is far from alone in this department. Poke an athletic director and he'll give you a question equal parts enraging and hilarious. Here's SMU's Guy Just In Charge Of Things For No Reason:

"Are you going to fire student-athletes? Is that really what we want?" Hart said. "I think we want the same things but I'm not sure this is the correct avenue."

Athletes get fired all the time already, but of course you know that, and SMU knows that, and the main thing holding even more athletes back from getting canned is not the existence of a union—one of the problems with unions is that in certain cases it becomes almost impossible to fire anyone—but the fact that anyone other than Alabama that turns their roster over that rampantly is going to be untenably young and get recruited against extensively.

But the answers to these easily answerable questions aren't really the point. The point is the sighted men asking them, pretending to be blind. There is a recent precedent for this.


hashed out faster than you can pass out at a Lars Von Trier movie

All this is reminiscent of when BCS flacks would attempt to grapple with the idea of a playoff. They would posit themselves as orangutans trying to jam a playoff banana into a college football square and grunt/holler about how it was ENTIRELY IMPOSSIBLE. When observers pointed out that literally every other level of college football featured a playoff, the orangutans would grunt/mutter that lower levels of football didn't involve as much effort, then point and exclaim "BUT WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL?!" before dropping a smoke bomb.

When they were still present after the smoke bomb dissipated, it turned out a playoff was something that could be hashed out in 45 minutes at lunch. How many teams? Uh, four. What locations? Uh, rotating bowl sites. Done. Now what? Let's try to make our logo as titillating to 13-year-old boys as possible. Sounds good, everybody, let's all congratulate ourselves with million-dollar bonuses! And bananas, because while we're not literally orangutans, bananas are terrific!

They did this almost the instant their system spat out an LSU-Alabama rematch that the nation rejected in the television rankings. As soon as it became clear that they could make more money, all problems and issues magically evaporated. Expect the same in the weeks following a judge's gavel sometime in the next few years.

Mailbag: Funk As Gibson, Opt-In Student Tickets, Bag Man Rehash

Mailbag: Funk As Gibson, Opt-In Student Tickets, Bag Man Rehash

Submitted by Brian on April 17th, 2014 at 12:37 PM




You asked today “how Borges is Nuss?”   I think equally appropriate is “how Gibson is Funk?”  It seems to me that their respective backgrounds, personal ties to the HC and seeming invulnerability in the face of terrible performances on the field are quite similar.  And, my fear is that loyalty to Funk – like RR to Gibson before him – will ultimately lead the HC’s demise.

Do you agree?


I am about to conjure forth a firestorm of controversy and despair. Be warned.

Gibson's miserableness is likely overstated. Back when everyone was like "this secondary is the worst secondary in the world" I went back and looked at WVU's passing D performances under Rodriguez and found that they were decent. Tony Gibson coached Ryan Mundy well enough to get him drafted by the NFL—something that did not seem in the cards when he was at Michigan. Tony Gibson is… possibly not a complete twit.

/rain of blood

/skies turn black

/rabbit graveyard sees rabbit corpses assemble itself into evil zombie rabbit voltron

He is obviously not great, as secondaries he has been around since tend to be disaster zones. But the things that made him look like a twit at Michigan are some of the same things afflicting Funk: his coordinator doesn't know what he's doing week to week and therefore his players don't know what they're doing, everyone is confused and miserable.

Then someone shoots the glass in your underwater research lab. When the structure is so broken there's only so much you can tell about which part of the rubble was marginally less sound than other parts of the rubble.

You are right that we can take a look at heuristics in an attempt to find out if there are reasons other than perceived competence that Funk is around. Funk does not appear to meet Good Ol' Boys standards. Whereas Gibson came up with Rodriguez all the way from Glenville State, Funk has bounced from coaching staff to coaching staff on his way up the ranks. Hoke hired him from Colorado State just before his last year at Ball State, whereupon the Cardinals rushed for nearly five yards a carry. San Diego State went from 115th(!) in yards per carry to 28th in the two years Funk was there. And he did rather well to start at Michigan before the full weight of Rodriguez's recruiting came to bear.

Funk's track record with Hoke is pretty good, and he is not a guy who has been around forever-forever. I'm not sure we're going to get much clarity about whether he's a good coach this year given the issues with personnel, but it's put up or shut up time no matter what.



I'm curious to hear your thoughts on using an opt-in system for student tickets. In my opinion, this would solve several problems. First, it would immediately reduce the number of empty seats by identifying non-attending students and allowing the University to resell their tickets. Second, it would condense the student section which--in the opinion of a recent alum (2006-2013)--would improve the stadium experience for students and, in turn, encourage more students to show up.

Under the system I envision, you would pay a fixed amount (approximating the price of season tickets) which gives you the right to opt-in to each individual home game for no additional fee. During the week leading up to each game you have the ability to "claim" your ticket online, up until some cut-off period. For example, maybe you have until 12:00am the night before the game.

If you don't claim the ticket by then, you cannot attend (I have mixed feelings about whether you should get some sort of small refund. maybe $5). Any unclaimed tickets would then be assigned the upper-most seats in the student section and  then be resold by the university the morning of the game. The students would have to be alerted, somehow, as to which rows of the student section have been resold and are no longer part of the general admission section.

There would also have to be some penalty for students who claim their ticket but are no-shows. For instance, if on two separate occasions you claim your ticket and don't show up, you lose your right to claim tickets for the rest of the season. Obviously the University would have to start tracking student attendence (maybe by putting the tickets on the MCards like in bball), but I dont imagine that would be difficult.


This is what Michigan did for basketball this year except presumably Michigan will not be overbooking the student section by 50%.

I'm opposed. A claim system does allow the university to sell seats that would otherwise be empty; it's a pain for people, though, and as part of my withdrawal from the field of the War On Students I'm in favor of making the process of going to games as easy as possible for everyone but especially the fickle next generation.

The question then becomes: how do you reward loyalty without annoying overhead? Michigan's revised student section policy is a major step forward:

By 2015, seat reservations will be based entirely on loyalty. Attendance points will be accumulated the following ways: each game attended is three points and arriving 30 minutes prior to kickoff earns an additional three points per game, for a total of six points per game.

Groups of up to 100 students can reserve seats together.

Groups get the average priority of everyone in them. That's simple and effective; it does not put any onus on the students except to show up early, and it was obviously concocted by the student government because I mean seriously the guys in suits have been trying to fix it and came up with HAIL and the world's worst GA policy. (I hope that my repeated rants on the subject had some influence there, but probably not.)

It's a step forward. Others can be taken. The new priority system does not solve one of the main reasons the student section ends up  looking empty: it is extremely difficult to flip tickets. The university decided it wanted full price for a student ticket not used by a student way back in the day and put a cumbersome validation process in place; if that was ditched most of those tickets not being used would get sold and deployed.

This brings back the unpleasant specter of the dudes I knew in college who bought tickets just to put them on eBay. I don't think that's going to be nearly the problem it was when student tickets cost $295 for the privilege of watching Penn State and nobody else. If Michigan's not capturing full value there they have to be close. Michigan should let tickets be sold normally while still scanning M-Cards for priority, and if you don't go to at least three games you no longer get to buy tickets.

Ugh. Capturing full value. I'm going to go take a shower now.


What's your solution to the Bag Man?

I put up a post on this on Bag Man Day that was immediately stepped on by the Horford transfer; I wanted to expound on some questions I got in the mailbag and picked this guy's email from about a half dozen.

Part of college football's draw is amateurism; kids playing for education not money. Obviously this is all smoke and mirrors anymore, but it's hard to let go of that aspect of it (if for nothing other than nostalgia's sake). I have a passing interest in the NFL as compared to college football. There's just a sense of cynicism when everything is commercialized and athletes are getting paid big money to play a kid's game while the "rest of us" slave at work for crumbs. Here are some questions you may be able to give your opinion on assuming some sort of compensation is awarded to student athletes.

Shouldn't we just make college football a D-League or create one for those who want to skip college?

Is the draw amateurism or the fact that these guys are students like the other students? Amateurism proponents are quick to mention the Insane Dollar Value of their scholarship. Some even go so far as to include all the world-class training and such in their effort to portray the college athlete as already well-compensated. If they're successful in their arguments, don't they just defeat themselves? They're already being compensated. Now we're just discussing the price.

Might as well go all in and not try to walk some line between amateurism and professionalism right?

Walking a fine line is dumb but neither should we upset the entire apple cart if we can at all help it. College has a lot of good effects for players even if they're not getting engineering degrees, and with most of them headed for brief pro careers at best the current model does a lot of good for a lot of people. We've done a half-dozen events  with Carr-era players, and man they make you glad that college football is the way it is instead of being minor league baseball or the CHL.

Why stop at a fixed stipend? Should there be some kind of salary cap? If there is a stipend or other form of compensation, won't there still be bag men to get top recruits extra money to attend certain universities?

A stipend is only one way to approach it. The Olympic model is another. If the NCAA was to say "we won't pay you, but we don't mind if you get paid for your likeness" that sidesteps Title IX issues and mitigates bag-man issues. The difference between ten grand and zero dollars is a lot more compelling than 40 grand and 50 grand. While it'll still have some influence, other factors actually become more prominent.

I mean isn't this really just bidding wars for free agents that we see in pro sports?

Even if this is a negative, and I'm not sure it is, it is already happening.

Should all the athletes get the same wage and who decides the pay scale? Wouldn't there then be problems with different "salaries?"

We seem to have figured this out for everyone else in America. I don't understand why this is a particular issue for athletes.

Do "student athletes" also get a scholarship?

Yes. I mean, it's a perk that costs the university almost nothing and has great symbolic value.

Is competitive balance a casualty? Poorer and smaller schools certainly won't be able to afford top recruits, and maybe not even the stipend, so do we just have the same handful of teams who can  actually afford to be competitive and get national exposure, eliminate the "Cinderellas" and certain universities' football programs altogether?

Unless you can find a kid who chose the MAC over the Big Ten right now this is just the status quo.

I guess I just don't see a fix to an already broken system. There's a ton of money to be made and everybody wants a cut. Paying the athletes, which I'm not totally against and there are legitimate arguments for, isn't going to solve the problem entirely because the NCAA doesn't have any teeth to enforce their rules. Athletes will get a stipend but then there will still be bag men steering athletes to certain schools. In essence, they'll be getting paid twice.


There isn't a fix, other than dropping the Victorian-era approach to amateurism. Probably the most ludicrous regulation of all is that athletes can't sign with agents and maintain their eligibility. An agent! Someone who's job is to be an advocate and aid for your career, and you can't even say "you will be my agent" even without getting money and the NCAA yanks your eligibility. It's ridiculous.

Simply, the NCAA needs to look at the rules and decide which of them are even vaguely enforceable, then dump the rest.

In Soviet Dear Diary Players Pay Calipari

In Soviet Dear Diary Players Pay Calipari

Submitted by Seth on April 11th, 2014 at 12:08 PM


Just so we're all on the same page, this llama (via) is dressed as Batman, because Horford is transferring from a team that graduates Jordan Morgan for reasons of playing time. Farewell, and good luck, Al Llama Batman Sartre Horford; our time together was too short to understand each other, but I shall ne'er forget the awesome.

Let's start with that because things are about to get even weirder and less relevant (e.g. Michigan's spring game). But first: VICTORS:

User Day 3 Points Prize
rgfmich 177.25 Design an MGoShirt
814EastU 171.75 ANOTHER MGoShirt
vussmoney 166.50 a shirt
montandj 161.50 a shirt
cgoldner 160.00 a shirt

If you're like "what?" that was the final standings among MGoBloggers in the Draftstreet 40k TourneyDraftstreet 40k Tourney a few weeks ago. Thank to our fantasy partners again for sponsoring the Day 1 and Sweet 16 liveblogs and everything; if anybody else wants to see how much fun it can be to give me money, jump in on the 100k MLB tourney for $22, or place in the top 5 of one of the $1 satellite leagues to win an entry.

It's a bit early for early returns, no? The Diarist of the Week™ (sorry I've been lapsing on that) is alum96 for his double feature (offense, defense) that looked at the various Übermenschen from Hoke's first uber-class as they enter their junior and redshirt sophomore season. I chart:

Offense Defense
Player Was Is   Player Was Is
Kalis 5*, Hutchinson 2.0 Not that   Pipkins 5* Hoke impersonator

On tra..

Magnusson 4* Schofield 2.0 On track   Henry 3* Afterthought A gem
Braden High 3*, Wisc OT On track   Wormley High 3* DL On track
Bars High 3* project Too soon   Strobel Low 4* lolOSU Too soon
Funchess 3* receivy TE Great WR   Godin 3* local DL Useful
Chesson High 3* skinny On track   Ross High 4* prodigy On track?
Darboh Low 4* possWR On track   RJS 4* hitter On track
A.J.Williams 3* blocky TE Not-good   Bolden High 4* natural On track?
Houma 3* runnyblocky On track   Ringer 3* might be Foote Wasn't
D. Johnson Low 3* local Gem?/inj.   Gant 3* S/LB tweener Too soon
NORFLEET 4* god of Smurfs Hi.   Wilson 4* Jamar Adams 2.0 On track
[No Quarterback] Richardson 4* Cass mite Cassmite
Clark 3* Shazorite On track

That's actually way better than I thought. Injuries set back some of them, and half of those who don't look like they'll turn out to be Big Ten-caliber players have been getting a lot of playing time regardlesss. More amazing, only Kaleb Ringer is gone.

Speaking of Morgan:


David Merritt is doing a signing event with J-Mo this afternoon at his store on South U.

Basketball diaries/etc.: Padog is now into the better-than-Indiana part of his worst-to-first conference preview of next year's Big Ten basketball teams, with Penn State, and Minnesota. Final stats on the shooty 2013-'14 season by LSA.

[Jump for a board of great relevance]

Let Them Eat Bag

Let Them Eat Bag

Submitted by Brian on April 10th, 2014 at 3:10 PM


They probably didn't mean for his hat to look like a butt

A slow April day in the middle of the college football wasteland had a bomb detonated on it when Stephen Godfrey and SBNation published an in-depth article on the shadow economy of the SEC, wherein people get paid by other people to play football for school X.

"I had this one kid, great player, good guy. Never got in trouble, but never did much on the field. But he's calling me all the time. 'Hey, the sunroof in my car is leaking,' he says, so I tell him to come meet me. $150. Two days later it's: 'Hey, I'm going out this weekend with a girl, can you help me?' $200. Next week after that he's got $300 in parking tickets. So one day I go to meet him to give him money and I ask, "Hey man, aren't you a business major? Have y'all learned what ROI means yet? It means return on investment, and at this rate I'm going to need to start seeing some touchdowns.'"

The article is fascinating and you should go read it now. I'll wait.

Now, let's talk about how much we care about this. I do. I've got a sneer or two in me left when I see kids at Clemson and Ole Miss whose recruitments did 180s away from Ann Arbor. There was a recruit in the last five years who Michigan led for; his sudden decision to go somewhere else was financially motivated and that was an open secret amongst that recruiting class. As a guy who wants to see his football team win games, that kind of thing still grates my gears.

But that's all at this point. It's just partisan crybaby stuff. I regard it as a character flaw. (The tatgate thing was different since Tressel lied to the NCAA multiple times. You can't do that and expect to keep your job, even if you lied about stupid rules that make no sense.)

So I don't care, you know, morally. The NCAA's prohibition on kids taking money is not only asinine but (obviously) unenforceable. It also serves no purpose other than to concentrate wealth in the hands of administrators. Whenever I get in discussions about these sorts of things with the dwindling number of people on the side of amateurism, the conversation usually boils down to this:

ME: I guess I just don't see why rich guys giving some of their money to poor people is such a problem.

THEM: But then they'll have money.

ME: I'm unclear on why that's an issue.

THEM: But then they'll be influenced.


Around here we like to say things like "I'm so glad Michigan doesn't do that." I think it's time to stop that. The rule is arbitrary, the system inherently corrupt, and if Michigan has a shadow network of boosters my main problem with them is that they're not good enough at being shadowy and boostery. The basketball recruits other schools have swooped in on aren't picking these other schools because of the coaching, man.

I'm over it. And you should be too, because the attitude about I'm So Glad We Don't Do That that's so pervasive around these parts is almost certainly false. I'm So Glad We Don't Do That As Much doesn't have the same horse height. Very averaged-sized horse, that. That's a horse that you can see your lunch getting eaten from only.

And in the service of what?

"Last week I got a call. We've got this JUCO transfer that had just got here. And he's country poor. The [graduate assistant] calls me and tells me he's watching the AFC Championship Game alone in the lobby of the Union because he doesn't have a TV. Says he never owned one. Now, you can buy a Walmart TV for $50. What kid in college doesn't have a TV? So I don't give him any money. I just go dig out in my garage and find one of those old Vizios from five years back and leave it for him at the desk. I don't view what I do as a crime, and I don't give a shit if someone else does, honestly."

Everywhere else in society, an 18 year old who works really hard at something is financially compensated for it and most of them do not… I mean… why am I even arguing about this? If you're the kind of person who thinks that young people doing dumb things with money is a threat instead of, you know, life, you probably start arguments with "Speaking as a parent." Anyone who starts arguments with "Speaking as a parent" wants you to turn off your brain so they can feelingsball you. They are my mortal enemies, speaking as a person who can formulate an argument.

The aura of paternalism that hangs over objections to letting players get theirs is suffocating. "But if they get money they'll…" They'll what? They'll still be under the thumb of a drill sergeant of a football coach desperate to remain in his good graces lest the faucet turn off. They will be the same, just with fewer things to stress about.

They might waste it. They might not. I just don't care anymore. Let them have their five hundred dollars.

Fisking The Internet On CAPA

Fisking The Internet On CAPA

Submitted by Brian on March 27th, 2014 at 12:36 PM


we're going to have a picture of Kain Colter at this press conference from ALL THE ANGLES

BiSB's terrific post earlier today covers much of the ground I wanted to, except from a lawyer who actually knows what he's talking about. I did want to put my two cents in, because approximately 74% of the comments I've read in the aftermath of the NLRB's decision make me want to find the person and shake them, shouting something along the lines of "HAVE YOU EVER MADE A COHERENT ARGUMENT IN YOUR GODDAMNED LIFE?!?"

So let's address these things. These are actual MGoBlog user comments. I'd say I'm sorry if I picked yours, but I'm not.


I could definitely see Northwestern arguging that football athletes shouldn't get special treatment over all the other sports, etc and just dropping it the way Chicago did.

So… your theory is that Northwestern will drop football, get kicked out of the Big Ten, lose about 99% of their athletics revenue, and pay for its nonrevenue sports out of its own pocket because the football players have the right to collectively bargain. The people making this decision will be throwing away countless hours of free marketing, making their school less attractive to prospective students, and essentially firing themselves.

Seems likely.

Wow. Stupid. So long college sports as we know it.

"So long the Olympics as we know it." –this guy, 1992

No way is the third string back-up tackle as valuable as Jake Ryan or Devin Gardner. Why should a guy who contributes little to victory receive the same level of pay that a Gardner does?

Also, this will basically destroy the MAC  and other small schools. They don't have the budget to negotiate anything. I foresee schools dropping football or going to non-scholarship.

This is an argument that the future system might be unfair because it treats all athletes the same when some of them are worth more than others. I'm sure if we think about this very hard for a very long time I can come up with a flaw in that.

The MAC may not be able to provide the same sort of financial support that bigger schools can. This will undoubtedly crater their recruiting, which features many head-to-head wins against the Big Ten.

Won't this cripple many athletic departments and force them to drop sports? Perhaps not Michigan, but schools of lesser stature?

Maryland recently dropped several sports.

There are broad swathes of schools playing NCAA sports, and most of them are going to be completely unaffected by this decision. To be an employee you have to be involved in economic activity, and most NCAA schools are spending, not making money. The top and vast bottom are going to be fine. There is a middle tier of schools that face a choice between narrowing their focus to keep up with the Joneses and abandoning their dreams of being Louisville.

The problem is: they already face that choice. They run with a D-I minimum of sports and throw their resources at the revenue generators. This won't "cripple" them any more than their already short resources do.

Maryland dropped several sports because it was run by an idiot, a problem orthogonal to this discussion.

if this decision stands they will have just walked tens of thousands of student athletes right out of college sports.  title IX will be effectively gutted.   your daughter that wanted to row/field hockey/basketball, etc, kiss that good bye.  your son who wanted to play a sport that really doesn't generate revenue, say gymnastics, wrestling, and track,   well that's all done too.  nice job [insert expletives here].

There are 311 Division II institutions that make zero money on sports. There are 449 D III institutions. There are hundreds—thousands—of D-II and D-III field hockey, rowing, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, and track programs. The chance that a high revenue program that has to deal with a player union is forced to drop sports is very low, and the overall number of opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics is not likely to change in any significant way.

And even if it did, I don't think there's any compelling reason to privilege generally wealthy nonrevenue athletes over the general student population and especially the relatively poor and underprivileged revenue athletes.



The athletes do not draw in the money. The name does. Michigan Football brings in the revenue. I didn't watch Denard any more closely than Sheridan. I don't watch Derrick Walton more often than Darius Morris. Have you ever said you were going to stop tuning in because a player left? Probably not, so it's not the players drawing in the money. The coaches play a big role, because they determine which players get recruited and how well the team performs (more fans watched Beilein than Amaker, for example).

Lots of players come and go every year, and the amount of revenue is not affected.

The hell you say. Traffic patterns during the last two football seasons here certainly indicate a correlation between success and engagement, and while football teams have a pile of goodwill built up all you have to do is look at ticket availability at Minnesota versus Wisconsin, or Northwestern, or Purdue, or Indiana to get an idea that the players make the name over a long period of time. If Michigan had a string of 3-9 seasons over the last 30 years, Michigan Stadium would be a decaying half-full wreck.

Meanwhile, I note you compared Derrick Walton to… uh… Darius Morris. I will expect a full report on the details of Gavin Groninger's career by Tuesday, in exacting detail.

So a 4 year full ride scholarship is not getting paid? This concept is a mockery of the system.

It may or may not be a 4 year full ride, and that full ride is not like getting an engineering degree (most of the time—I see you, Jordan Morgan). Many of the kids coming in are under-prepared to get a meaningful degree and have to spend 50 hours a week year round on their chosen sport. For many the value of their degree is approximately zero, both in terms of vocational knowledge gained and their ability to apply that to a real world job.

This is not because they did not "take advantage of their opportunity." It is because the opportunity was to play football and the rest of it was window dressing.

Also, CAPA was arguing that the scholarship is payment. The issue is that these players are compensated, making them employees, and the NCAA illegally colludes to cap compensation at a certain amount. That is not legal.

And the system is a mockery of you, man.

It's not free labor, they pay them in the form of education, meals, $1,200 month stipend, etc. Nobody is telling these kids that they can't go to college unless they play football, they can take the normal route and get student loans and be a normal student. That's what grinds my gears about the whole thing.

They are telling them that this is the deal, take it or leave it, if you want to get to the NFL. And oh by the way as you're embarking on your probably-failed quest to have an NFL career that's going to be about 3 years long even if you do make it, we are going to make millions of dollars off your single outstanding skill.

It is ludicrous that everyone in college is all about getting theirs and we bristle at the idea of the players doing the same. Any moral high ground the NCAA had—and they did try to cap assistant pay back in the day—is 20 years gone.



I wonder what cut the IRS will get from these Unionized employees

lets say 50000 a year for tuition, food, room, board, books and everything else

thats 50000 x .25 since thats 25 percent tax bracket = 12500 taxes

12500 x 4 = 50000 taxes owed

good luck kid

This was capably addressed by BiSB: the NLRB has nothing to do with the IRS and vice versa, and even if it did the way the law is currently written athletic scholarships should already be taxable. If anything, negotiating a provision that the scholarship still applies even if the player leaves the team puts the non-taxability of scholarship on more solid footing. Meanwhile, room and board money is already taxed.

What happens when needs aren't met? Strike? What happens then?

What prevents players from sitting down now? 

If the medical benefits, etc. that these players want really comes to fruition, what is that going to do to ticket prices?  The schools are going to try to come up with some sort of calculations as to what these new benefits to the players is going to cost and almost certainly try to figure out where the money is going to come from to fund the new player benefits.  Odds are it's going to be the consumer (ie - fans) that are going to be asked to help fund the new player benefits.

If ticket prices had any relationship to the cost of supporting the athletic department they would not have quadrupled in real dollars since 2000. If NCAA athletic departments were not trying to wring out every last dime they can already, Rutgers and Maryland would not be joining the Big Ten next year to the outrage of 90% of current Big Ten fans. If athletic departments could not afford to shift some of their money towards the athletes under their care, coaching salaries would not have gone up 70% since 2006.

Does this mean that Northwestern can fire all of their underperforming players and replace them with better ones now?


Unverified Voracity Suggests Games Should Be Won

Unverified Voracity Suggests Games Should Be Won

Submitted by Brian on March 18th, 2014 at 12:18 PM

More Aerris Smith. Starts boilerplate, and then gets COLLEGE, like Junior Hemingway after the Sugar Bowl COLLEGE:


Uh. Here's a first hand look at Wofford from a gentleman who saw them take on Davidson. Expect a lot of Cochran trying to get a shot for someone, usually himself.

WIN THE (hockey) GAME. A gentleman has run through all three million or so possibilities remaining in the college hockey season and presents us with everyone's chances of finishing at position X. The Penn State game turns out to be kind of a big deal:

PWR	Win 0	Win 1	Win 2	Win 3
#6	 	 	 	0.7%
#7	 	 	 	0.0%
#8	 	 	 	20.5%
#9	 	 	0.1%	56.5%
#10	 	 	2.5%	22.3%
#11	0.0%	21.9%	38.9%	 
#12	2.0%	43.4%	39.6%	 
#13	12.9%	25.6%	16.8%	 
#14	30.5%	7.5%	2.0%	 
#15	33.2%	1.5%	 	 
#16	17.4%	0.1%	 	 
#17	3.4%	 	 	 
#18	0.5%	 	 	 
In:	20.6%	95.9%	96.6%	100.0%

That is a hell of a swing.

The breakdown is off, as it assumes all remaining games are coinflips. This paints a more pessimistic picture than is realistic since it gives bid thieves a higher shot at theft than they actually have. So the picture with a Penn State loss isn't quite that grim. Michigan's chances in the event of a loss are probably in the 40-50 range if you live in a world where MSU's shot at a bid is less than 12.5%.

But it's pretty easy: win on Thursday and you're in barring worst-case scenarios where everyone else on the bubble does spectacularly well and bids get stolen. If only I could claim a game against Penn State is not a coin flip given the fact that Penn State is very bad at hockey.

The imperative is clear. #winthegame.

WIN THE (basketball) GAME. Sports On Earth profiles John Beilein, the "maestro of March":

On the eve of the Final Four, John Beilein's most important player was a mess. Practicing against teammates imitating Syracuse's famed zone defense, Mitch McGary's footwork was awful. If Beilein couldn't correct the problem, Michigan had no chance of playing for a national title.

Beilein wanted his 6-foot-10 freshman center to operate around the foul line and distribute the ball. The coaching staff spent all week trying to get him to pivot a certain way. Most of the time, he traveled or threw the ball away. "He couldn't read the zone because he couldn't see it, and he couldn't see it because he didn't have the right balance and leverage," Beilein said. Frustrated, he brought McGary, along with a few managers and players, back to the court after Friday's practice and said, "OK, Mitch, one more time: This is how we're going to do it." He told McGary to slow down and trust his instincts. He finally executed.

The next night in the Georgia Dome, McGary, who had a total of 18 assists all season unitl then, sliced up the 2-3 zone, recording a team-high six assists, while also scoring 10 points and grabbing five offensive rebounds in a 61-56 win. "It was a week of work getting him to figure it out," Beilein said. "His assists won us the game."

Read the whole thing. Also in Beilein hagiography: Frank Martin talks him up. Yes, that Frank Martin, the demon-screamer late of Kansas State who inexplicably took the South Carolina job.


NMSU's announcer has to thank God every day that he gets to exclaim SIMMMMMMMMM BHULLLLLAAAAAAAAAR at maximum volume.

The other random obsession with a basketball player. Remember SIM BHULLAR? 7'5", 360 pound Indo-Canadian Michigan was poking around who ended up at New Mexico State? Guy with an all-time combination of game and announcer-friendly name?

SIM BHULLAR plays about 20 minutes a game for the Aggies, has excellent rebound and block rates, shoots 64% from the floor with decent usage, and gets fouled a lot, whereupon he hits only 54%.

He and New Mexico State will take on Steve Fisher and San Diego State in the first round in a Michigan Old versus Michigan What Might Have Been matchup.

Seriously though, given the way Michigan plays offense they could really use an offensively challenged guy who looks like he's been in contact with a radioactive spider. Radioactive spider guy challenges shots and flushes putbacks and dumpoffs. We need to get in contact with whoever's importing the Joel Embiids of the world and see if there's a guy who's maybe not Joel Embiid but good enough for Michigan's purposes.

Dogpile. Yet another lawsuit has been dropped on the NCAA. This one is from a Jeffery Kessler, noted sports anti-trust lawyer, and it's a doozy:

"The main objective is to strike down permanently the restrictions that prevent athletes in Division I basketball and the top tier of college football from being fairly compensated for the billions of dollars in revenues that they help generate," Kessler told ESPN. "In no other business -- and college sports is big business -- would it ever be suggested that the people who are providing the essential services work for free. Only in big-time college sports is that line drawn."

Maybe it was not the best move to include a Rutgers basketball player in your suit when you're claiming college athletes should be given something more than a stern talking-to and return to the American conference, but this Kessler guy is bad news for sports leagues trying to keep the man up:

Kessler helped bring free agency to the NFL, winning a key jury verdict for the NFL Players Association in 1992. He remains outside counsel to the NFLPA and the NBA's player union, has taken on Major League Baseball and represented star athletes including Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. For municipal authorities, he forced the Raiders to honor their stadium lease and stay in Oakland.

Given the skepticism of the judge in the O'Bannon case and Kessler's history of wins here it seems hard to believe the NCAA will look much like it does now in a decade. And that's a good thing, both in terms of fairness and for Michigan specifically. Michigan has a lot of money. Alums have a lot of money. We are currently using that in indirect ways while others are using their money to get to the point.

Meanwhile. An article on Michigan's surging revenues highlights the absurdity of the claim that most athletic departments lose money:

Department revenues rose $41.5 million from 2009-10 to 2012-13. During that same four-year period, expenses increased at a similar level, rising from $87 million to $132 million.

Funny how that works. It's almost like athletic departments spend all the money they have.

I mean:

In 2009-10, Michigan paid $33 million in wages to about 275 people. By 2012-13, the athletic department had 321 employees (it has grown even more this year to 336 workers) and projected $44 million in pay, including $19 million on coaches' salaries.

It's long past time to redirect some of that to the players.

Oh man. IU's Fred Glass making me feel slightly better about the AD gap:

"Finances wouldn't be an issue if we thought it made sense," Glass told The Star. "But we're Indiana. We don't play in the CBI."

A sentiment better left unexpressed after the last decade.

Right, that. Gregg Doyel makes a good point about Wichita State getting the stink eye from the committee:

We can debate whether Louisville deserved to be seeded so poorly, but what we cannot debate is what is being asked of Wichita State. The top seeds are supposed to be geographically protected, helped out if possible but not completely screwed at a minimum. And Wichita State was completely screwed.

Any idea how far Louisville is from Indianapolis? About 90 minutes by car. It's nothing. And southern Indiana is a hotbed of Louisville fans. Louisville is more than comfortable at Indy.

If Louisville was going to be a 4 they should have shipped them anywhere else. Does the NCAA really care that much about attendance?

Spring whatball? There is some thing with a oblong ball that isn't quite rugby that Michigan appears to be doing.

Oh good, more tackles for loss.

Departures. Matt Painter grumbled publicly about having selfish players, so a transfer does not come as a shock. Ronnie Johnson is gone from the Boilers. This is not a harsh blow statistically—Johnson's ORTG was under 100—but it is not a good look for Purdue, which loses seven contributors after going 15-17 and doesn't have the recruiting class to make up for that. Painter's apparently going to get another season, but it looks like his last unless he performs a miracle.

Also in bad teams from Indiana, Noah Vonleh is "strongly leaning" towards entering the draft. Losing Vonleh would leave Indiana hoping that Hanner Mosquera-Perea or Jeremy Hollowell can become basketball-type objects. Possible… but not looking good after this year.

Etc.: Guptill's September suspension turns out to be for assault; judge determines that Guptill made a guy "in fear of being pushed or shoved." Mark Richt has lost control of Alex Guptill. That is some straight-up UGA petty misdemeanory.

Tommy Amaker: "we're not trying to win a championship, we're trying to be a championship team." Peak coach-speak has been achieved.