"Such is the training that football, played by eleven gentlemanly fellows with eleven other gentlemanly fellows, gives to the one who enters its lists."
AAGO update. A clarification from the AAGO on the Wisconsin game:
Park-n-party pre-paid passes have been rescinded. This is preemptive to allow people to make alternative plans. We will take in our season pass holders if possible. That decision will be made Wednesday or Thursday. We did sustain significant damage and the course is still too wet to repair.
1902 – Chicago (Marshall Field) – U-M 6, Wisconsin 0. In a massive game held in the Windy City, trains full of fans from Madison and Ann Arbor descended on Chicago to be there. According to John Kryk’s epicStagg vs. Yost, both schools agreed to construct temporary stands to meet the demand for a few hundred additional fans. Unfortunately it seems many more than could fit hopped aboard the stands…and it got ugly. Again, Kryk:
In the middle of the first half, timbers in the grandstand suddenly began to creak–then snapped. The whole stand swayed to the north then collapsed, dropping hundreds. Incredibly, no one was killed and only a few were seriously injured.
The game was interrupted for fifteen minutes as stunned, scared, and some bloodied spectators flooded onto the northeast corner of the playing field to escape the woodpile wreckage.
A lighter note: during the hysteria following the collapse, with the guards distracted while tending to the mess, hundreds of ticketless fans rushed in to the field to grab of a view of this huge game.
And no, things never change as a big legal mess ensued between Wisconsin, Michigan and even Chicago (whose Marshall Field was used to stage the big game), with fingers pointing in all directions.
I love that the damn stadium collapsed and the delay was 15 minutes, or half of the current wait when there's a thunderbolt in the area. Let's go! It's 1902, we're all dying in the near future!
[After THE JUMP: a worse crime against football than the above]
We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan there wouldn't have been a season 5 let alone 10.
1. Maryland, Ohio State, the others…What do we do?
starts at 1:00
Maryland's bully culture got a player killed. Ohio State kept Zach Smith for a decade of spousal abuse, lied about it, and destroyed evidence, then did somersaults to not fire him. How many things flew under Joe Rexrode's nose at MSU? Favorite thing about Iowa is they'll periodically drop MSU shade over Chris Rucker playing right after they got out of jail. Indiana fired Kevin Wilson because Indiana has integrity. Please institute the DeBord Rule.
We need a new NCAA. We need to empower the players. We need some kind of standard for who gets to be a strength coach.
2. The Big Ten East
starts at 38:32
OTHER THAN THAT Mrs. Lincoln, how's the division? Indiana Al Borges'd themselves, Penn State lost a looot of guys but has the Heisman candidate at QB, Michigan State wasn't as bad as 2016 or as good as 2017 but might be better by 2018. Maryland collapses. Ohio State skates.
3. The Big Ten West
starts at 52:13
Wisconsin has the top six offensive linemen in the conference, a perfect nose, two more years of Jonathan Taylor, Hornibrook, and possibly some serious wide receiver problems. Northwestern is a front seven. Nebraska is in Year Zero. Purdue is interesting but not good. Iowa?
4. On the Line
starts at 1:07:40
Staff picks for wins/losses on the season. At Ohio State is a clearly troubling prospect now that they got to keep the guy who should have been fired. At Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Penn State, at Northwestern are the losable game.
In case you didn't notice this morning our season preview gives tribute to the Queen.
It's happened before and will happen again. Maaaaybe Michigan gets a third year out of Poole, but they should be keeping that third slot in the 2019 class warm.
The Bentley, profiled. Michigan's history—all of it—is meticulously documented at the Bentley Library, which has been an invaluable resource for Seth, Craig Ross, Greg Dooley, and anyone else who wants to delve into the rich history of Michigan football. So it's good to see that the Athletic profiled Greg Kinney:
“This must be the ’98 team,” Kinney says. He is holding a black-and-white picture of men wearing funny clothes. He is not talking about the Lloyd Carr football team that went 10-3. He is talking about a team that went 10-0 and beat Chicago in front of a record crowd of 12,000, the original Champions of the West.
He is talking about 1898.
Standing just beside him, Brian Williams, a coworker, shoots over a knowing stare. “He can tell you that just by looking at it.”
[After THE JUMP: post takes a turn for the negative.]
I thought Urban Meyer would skate away from the Zach Smith thing largely unscathed, and he has. But I'm still shocked this morning because OSU released a report that provides details of Smith's employment and Meyer's actions. First and foremost, Meyer's first action after the Brett McMurphy report that set this chain of events in motion was to delete all text messages older than a year off his phone. If your first reaction to a media report is to destroy evidence, that's a firing offense.
It goes on, pointlessly, detailing years of Smith's very very obvious issues and Meyer's continuing enablement of them before getting into OSU's response post-McMurphy and the lies Meyer told in an effort to make it all go away. It concludes with a burst of stunningly inane pretzel logic in the service of keeping Meyer in his job. Nicole Auberbach:
I now see why it took so long to go through *this* report and somehow figure out a way to justify a suspension, not a firing: https://t.co/ZNJMwcZCpn
The 12-hour meeting was about inserting the pretzel logic. Meanwhile, this was the guy who Meyer kept in his program for a decade:
(b) At 7:35 p.m., Shelley Meyer conveyed, in a text to Coach Meyer, that “I am worried about Zach’s response. He drinks a lot and I am just not sure how stable he will be. Afraid he will do something dangerous. It’s obvious he has anger/rage issues already.” Meyer did not respond to the message.
In response to this, a slap on the wrist and a warning that if Meyer covers for the actions of a serial abuser for another decade there might be Serious Consequences.
And I dunno, guys. What's even the point anymore? Michigan's main rivals are both proven loathsome institutions. They beat Michigan on the football field, so no one cares. Meyer will face no real consequences for his behavior. Mark Dantonio has faced no consequences for bringing Auston Robertson to campus. Both have enabled abuse, in full view of the public, and nobody cares because they win games. Michigan State tried not to care about Larry Nassar and even when forced to by public outrage still gave Lou Anna Simon a golden parachute; they continue to lie to this day.
No real consequences for anyone for anything except losing football games. No shame. Michigan will go down to Columbus in November and very probably lose again and all will be forgiven, except all is already forgiven. Except there was never anything to forgive in the first place.
We need to stop looking at the NCAA as an organization that is supposed to check these behaviors and start looking at it as the primary cause of them. Every big time school looks at their bylaws as a joke to get around. Every major recruit is getting paid under the table. There is a giant see-no-evil culture across the sport. To some extent this is fine because the evil that people aren't seeing is people exchanging labor for money, but once you have a sport-wide code of silence it can easily be extended to wife beaters. Or rapists. Or anything, really.
The Nets don't have much in the way of shooting in the frontcourt and aren't really committed to any 4s or 5s long term besides promising rookie Jarrett Allen and the dead-weight contract of Timofey Mozgov.
Wagner brings floor spacing and a high-energy style of play. He was one of the breakout players of March, leading Michigan to a Big Ten title and a surprise run to the NCAA championship game.
The Raptors have traded that pick to the Nets, so that would mean Caris Levert, Nik Stauskas, and Wagner were all… uh… Nets. Since mock drafts are deadly accurate, NY-based Michigan grads should buy their season tickets now.
This is not a layup-focused point guard. IA PG DJ Carton's latest highlight video is mostly nasty contested dunks.
I preferred our previous ignorance about Crisler's scorer, because back in those innocent days I could point out that Michigan's defensive renassaince was in no small part because they were elite at forcing non-rim twos. Now I can only suspect that. Now I know that some part of that is a home scorer who thinks only uncontested dunks or layups are "at the rim."
One of the more telling sequences from Amazon’s behind-the-scenes look at Michigan’s 2017 season came during the Wolverines’ 42–13 loss at Penn State. After another failed drive, Michigan quarterback John O’Korn came to the sideline. “No blocking,” O’Korn told Harbaugh. “There’s no blocking.”
Andy Staples inserts that into a piece about Shea Patterson's attempt to save Michigan's offense. I do have an issue with Staples citing raw yards per carry numbers from Michigan's less successful outings on the ground:
Last season, they averaged 2.6 yards a carry against Michigan State, 2.5 yards a carry against Penn State, 1.5 yards a carry against Wisconsin, 2.8 yards a carry against Ohio State and 2.2 yards a carry against South Carolina. That places even more pressure on the quarterback, figuratively (because he’s expected to do it all) and literally (because blocking poorly leads to large humans in the quarterback’s face and the lack of a run game means defenses can dedicate more bodies to covering potential targets).
Once you move sacks to the correct bin, Michigan averaged 3.9, 4.3, 2.2, 4.6, and 2.9 YPC in those games, which is not good but is a considerably more accurate evaluation than sack-included numbers for the #117 pass pro team in the country.
Another thing to note on this one is the safety who eventually tackled Evans: he is rotated back by the motion and spends a second or two reading the play out before barreling downfield. That makes for a good gain instead of good blocks and three yards. The difference between that nine yard gain and this three yard one is evident:
PSU safety to top of screen
PSU also got a DT out there on a stunt, but that's just a thing that happened. It's not a trend. The trend is the safeties firing at Michigan's ground game with impunity. PSU's safety froze on the first one because he didn't know what he was looking at. Once he saw the play once he was able to fire because nobody cares about Michigan's passing game. That's a version of what happened to early Rodriguez offenses where the new stuff would work for a bit and then when the defense had seen it they curled up and died, because they could only do one thing.
Michigan's lack of a passing game stifled their run game, not vice versa. Patterson's worst case scenario is a thousand times better than what Michigan got from the spot a year ago. It'll all go to hell if Michigan can't pass protect better, but Patterson really does solve a swath of Michigan's issues just by being a proven P5 quarteback.
Speaking of. If you can stomach it, James Light highlighted a couple of Michigan's many, many missed opportnities against Ohio State:
Patterson certainly would have won that game, for one.
Can anyone catch up? A Jalen Wilson post-visit interview($) is mostly unrevealing, but he does omit UCLA as a contender and say he's going to commit before his school year starts. Wilson's visit generated a big Michigan run on the crystal ball, with both Steve Lorenz and Josh Henschke joining various others.
Wilson has as-of-yet unscheduled visits he wants to take to Baylor, Marquette, Oklahoma State, and Kansas. Hopefully those remain vague.
Pitino flips! In the media! The Washington Post has an extensive story on new IU recruit Romeo Langford's college decision featuring one Rick Pitino:
In January 2017, Pitino said, two Adidas officials met with him to discuss their efforts to keep Nike and Under Armour from landing Langford, whom Pitino was recruiting. Pitino’s account was supported by text messages he shared with The Washington Post for a previous story.
“The way they phrased it, it was [whichever shoe company] was going to pay the dad’s AAU program the most money, gets it,” Pitino said in a recent phone interview. A few days later, Adidas’s league added a new team: Twenty Two Vision, featuring Romeo Langford on the court and Tim Langford as team director. Shoe company sponsorships can reach $100,000 to $150,000, and team directors who limit expenses can pay themselves salaries from those amounts.
“That’s the way that world works,” Pitino said. “Which is completely legal, by the way.”
This space is in full heighten the contradictions mode about college basketball and welcomes any and all revelations about how ineffectual the NCAA's attempts to prevent money from flowing to folks with marketable skills are. A pissed-off Rick Pitino napalming everyone he can in the Washington Post is a boon for everyone.
Recruiting rankings matter, and also have a systemic bias. NFL players versus blue chip recruits, mapped:
Blue states have more NFL players than blue chip recruits; red states have fewer. That's part of a thorough Football Study Hall article on recruiting rankings and the draft, and is about as conclusive as possible that the recruiting industry is systematically underrating the Midwest and overrating the south. The south does have more players—only an idiot would dispute that—but the gap isn't as big as the rankings suggest.
UPDATE: Related event:
Stumbled across Saquon Barkley's high school highlights. This punt return is insane (and maybe give a few of his blockers a look as UDFAs!) pic.twitter.com/GRXFBQoHCX
PARIS — Less than 10 miles from the Michigan football team’s palatial hotel in the heart of Paris sits Stade Olympique de Colombes, the host of the 1924 Olympic Games.
The old stadium, now 111 years old, is rickety and considerably smaller than its heyday when it entertained the world’s best athletes. Inside the concrete walls, DeHart Hubbard, one of the University of Michigan’s greatest sportsmen, became the first African-American to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual event, with a leap of 24 feet, 5 inches in the long jump on his sixth and final jump with a bruised heel.
“When I was a student, I came in 1976, and I looked at the school records because I was a long jumper, and that’s when I found out the first notion of who he was,” said James Henry, now the co-head coach of the UM women’s track and field team. “Then I found out he was the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. I was enthralled by him. He was my role model.
“He was at the University of Michigan at a time in which blacks couldn't do very much anywhere. I just felt that if this man can make it, I can make it. Making a name for myself by beating his records meant everything to me. That was my drive as a student-athlete to participate at a high level.”
Much more at the link. Now Rowland can file that expense report with a clear conscience.
Paging Mitch Leidner to the Department of Inexplicably Overrated Big Ten Quarterbacks. One mock draft was a hilarious oversight by an overworked intern. Two was worrisome. But now that it appears the NFL draft people are unanimous in asserting this person is a first round pick…
The Pick: Clayton Thorson, QB, Northwestern
The New York Giants passed on the chance to draft a quarterback of the future with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 draft, but is that a decision they'll regret? Or will fourth-rounder Kyle Lauletta be the answer?
If after a season of watching Lauletta and 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, the Giants feel like the long-term answer at starter isn't on the roster, the team could be in good shape to draft a quarterback in 2019. Northwestern's Clayton Thorson nearly declared for this year's draft before surveying the deep group of passers and deciding to return to school. He has the arm, accuracy and intangibles to be considered a first-rounder one year from now.
…it's time to lay very still and sweat profusely, hoping this is a crazy dream.
Clayton Thorson! Sir, I have seen an unstoppable throw-god in purple. You, sir, are no Trevor Siemian. Thorson averaged 6.6 YPA with a 15-12 TD-INT ratio last year. But he's 6'4" and superficially looks like an NFL quarterback, so on the list he goes.
Meanwhile, Michigan prospects for 2019. Only two Wolverines show up on Athlon's top 50: #2 Rashan Gary and #22 Shea Patterson. Zach Shaw rounded up all the Way Too Early Mock Drafts and those two are the only guys on any of them. This is odd to me since Michigan's cornerback duo was probably the best in the country, at least in terms of passer rating allowed. You'd think one of the two would be a consideration for the end of the first round.
The director of an amateur Massachusetts basketball team affiliated with Adidas AG agreed to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors investigating an NCAA bribery scandal, according to a copy of the agreement made public Friday.
Thomas "T.J." Gassnola entered the plea on March 30 to federal charges that he made payments to families of high school student-athletes in exchange for their commitment to play for certain universities, according to the filing.
NC State seems to be the main school linked with Gassnola, but, uh… Notre Dame(!) is an Adidas[correction: they switched to UA] school that just picked up two players from Gassnola's AAU team. I will give the FBI one dollar if they sweep the Irish into this. Think of the ND Nation takes.
Wilde take. Quinn Hughes is #5 on this NHL mock draft. Bode Wilde is #17:
17. New Jersey Devils: Bode Wilde, D, U.S. U18 (NTDP)
There are few prospects in this draft who can provide GMs with a skill set as tantalizing as Wilde’s. The big, mobile defender was a minute muncher for a deep NTDP blue line and his explosive first step is drool inducing. You don’t find many 6-2 defensemen with dynamic speed and a blistering shot, which is why GM Ray Shero should add this thoroughbred to his already-dangerous Devils’ attack
He'll be an acid test for the new staff's ability to mold guys, because he's a boom or bust guy on the NHL level because of his tendency to get out of position and cede odd man rushes.
Montana scouted. Andrew Kahn interviews the Eastern Washington head coach a couple days after EWU went down in the Big Sky title game:
The Grizzlies won the league with a 16-2 record not just because they're well coached but because of their athleticism, according to Legans. Michael Oguine, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the Defensive Player of the Year in the conference. "He's quick, athletic, and can guard anybody on the perimeter." …
"If you can pull their bigs away from the basket a little bit, then you make them play small and beat them up inside. I see those problems occurring with this game because Michigan's size and skill could hurt them bad."
Oguine combines that DPOY status with excellent offensive efficiency and will be the main guy to watch for the Griz.
Final pre-tourney shot volume. Michigan finishes 13th amongst P5 teams, and coupled with Michigan's stellar transition D this rather validates the approach:
For example, you’ll hear during the tournament that Duke is a swaggering beast of offensive rebounding might, and, sure enough, the Blue Devils do fit that description perfectly. But did you know that, with all those spectacular offensive boards, Mike Krzyzewski is merely equaling what a certain Big Ten coach is already doing with his less eye-catching yet highly effective low-turnover ways?
TO% OR% SVI
12. Duke 18.3 36.4 98.0
13. Michigan 13.6 24.5 98.0
So, yes, this can be a nifty item at times.
Potential S16 opponent North Carolina, unfortunately, finishes first.
"This is not right, it's just not fair," Valentine told ESPN. "It hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm being punished unjustly."
It is absolutely right, and absolutely fair, for the NCAA to make an example of Valentine after he did the Joel Berry thing. That was the worst breach of ref impartiality I can remember, and it came from a guy who fills out the rest of the top ten personally.
He'll no doubt be back next year unless his repeated public bitching sours the powers-that-be permanently. Any coach who talked about Valentine like Valentine has twice talked about his employers would be fined. Here he is complaining that the Big Ten is not professional enough for Ted Valentine:
Valentine, who had considered retirement after the Berry incident, said he was pulled off a pair of Big Ten games earlier this year because of the episode. Valentine had officiated primarily Big Ten games for 34 years, but said he began doing more ACC games two years ago because he lives in South Carolina and the travel was easier as he approached his 60s.
"It had nothing to do with the Big Ten," Valentine said. "The ACC handled it in the utmost professional manner. It was overblown, and no big deal."
Fire that guy into the sun and never have him work a Big Ten game again.
When the FBI can inject sensibility into your enterprise… The divers alarums and excursions you've been hearing from the direction of NCAA boardrooms has finally resolved itself into that greatest of problem solvers: the Task Force. The Pac-12 put one together; it put together a 51-page PDF that's actually kind of interesting* in that it acknowledges the relative helplessness of the NCAA and then puts forth a collection of proposals that sort of acknowledge this. Large themes:
Restrictions on coach-prospect contact should be significantly loosened. This includes allowing prospects to take an additional five official visits as a junior and
Agents should be more tolerated. Hockey and baseball have allowed formal contractual relationships with agents recently; the report suggests basketball should do the same. This is vastly overdue for a thousand reasons.
Eligibility should be less fragile. The reports specifically reference baseball as a sport where players retain eligibility "after being drafted," and later directly calls for the NBA to adopt the baseball model where you can go pro immediately out of high school but if you don't you're in college for at least three years. Chance NBA adopts this: zero. Maybe draft and follow would be a compromise?
The report also calls for an NCAA enforcement arm separate from the NCAA, which sounds like rearranging deck chairs to me.
The Task Force doesn't go anywhere near something radical but it is a baby step.
*[A sports car races by. I am pelted in the head with a snowball. A bro in a white baseball cap screams "NEEEEEEEEERD" as the car peels out, careening wildly.]
Shea in limbo. Shea Patterson's lawyer is also spearheading five other applications for immediately eligibility and tells CBS that Ole Miss is being rather petulant about all this:
Ole Miss actually received that [waiver-request] package as a courtesy from Michigan. Because it didn't officially come from the NCAA, the 10-day clock did not start ticking.
"So, from a technical rules perspective, despite having all the information for the past two weeks, Old Miss could continue to keep its position on the Shea Patterson waiver request to itself for at least another two weeks," Mars said.
"In the meantime, as everyone knows, the process is at a standstill."
For whatever reason the NCAA has not sent the package to Ole Miss, so it will be at least another two weeks before a determination is made, and probably longer than that.
This is not a Dave Brandon story. Toys R Us is going to liquidate. Whenever there's a Toys R Us story several people send it to me. Please stop doing this. I am aware of goings on at Toys R Us that reach the media. The thing about Toys R Us is that it's not a story about one man's over-arching incompetence setting everything on fire. It's a story about a patsy being installed at a doomed company so he can leech millions of dollars out of it for doing nothing:
In 2005, the Toys R Us board of directors sold the company for $6.6 billion to the private equity firms Bain Capital and KKR and the real estate investment firm Vornado. The firms put up about 20 percent of the total and borrowed the rest.
Toys R Us became a private company with more than $5 billion in debt. And then things went off the rails.
“The beginning of the problems for Toys was that Amazon.com exploded,” said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s.
During the next five years, sales at Amazon quadrupled to $34 billion.
“Amazon went into the toy sector in a big way,” O’Shea said, and it “added one more big competitor for Toys R Us.”
To compete, Toys R Us would have had to invest significantly in its website and stores. But the retailer was using most of its available cash to pay back its debt. …
The private equity firms’ investors haven’t made money off this deal. But the firms themselves have. It’s unclear where Vornado ended up. But after collecting fees from Toys R Us, Bain and KKR each took home at least $15 million.
Toys ‘R’ Us is seeking bankruptcy court permission to pay Dave Brandon, the company’s chief executive officer since 2015, a cash bonus of as much as $12 million for 2017, on top of a $2.8 million “retention” bonus he received just before the company filed for bankruptcy in September, according to court filings.
Moreover, Mr. Brandon would be entitled to receive 40% of that bonus, or $4.8 million, within the first quarter of 2018.
A Toys “R” Us spokeswoman said that the company’s plan to pay millions of dollars to Mr. Brandon is in line with common practice in restructurings. “This type of plan is standard practice for a company involved in a restructuring and in this case rewards team members at all levels of the company,” she said.
You know this guy is an idiot, and it is crystal clear that nothing he did at a doomed company helped it an iota. But because he's bros with Mitt Romney he gets an eight-digit payday. That is one of many reasons income inequality has skyrocketed. Because it doesn't matter if you'd lose a spelling contest to a mop once you've got cronies high up.
There is a predictable set of bins people fling themselves in whenever it's revealed that someone playing college sports got money to do so.
"DAY OF GREAT SHAME" BIN: A rapidly dwindling category mostly filled by NCAA administrators who are literally paid to misunderstand economics. Also includes revanchist portions of NCAA fanbases, the sizes of which directly correspond to perceived cleanliness. Michigan and Notre Dame have tons of these fans; Memphis not so much.
"BUT THE DETAILS" BIN: A slightly woke-r segment of the populace, this group is hypothetically okay with paying players as long as you have a 100-page congressional bill that covers every last eventuality. Like to bring up Title IX as if that disqualifies the Olympic option. Frequently baffled by capitalism despite participating in it daily. Extremely concerned that some people might get paid more than other people. Like positing the status quo as a potential dystopia. NIMBYs for college sports. They are in favor of buildings, just not this building or that building. Or that other building.
"WHO CARES" BIN: The woke and cynical. See bagmen as folk heroes, more or less. Advocate burning down the system but fight and/or downplay anyone who would talk about the hidden details as a "cop." Sometimes right about this. Hate the status quo. Wish to preserve the status quo, at least as far as the under-the-table aspects go. Doesn't correlate a willingness to ignore mutually-agreed upon rules with, say, screwing around on your wife with every prostitute you can find. Or having a fraudulent department in your university. Or ignoring a rape.
At this late date, the first group is hopeless. The second is irritating and largely arguing in bad faith when they bring up things like "what if boosters gave players a lot of cash?!?!?!" I fell into the Andy Staples hole a few days ago by quote-tweeting these uniquely infuriating takes on why making the current system more equitable is impossible. I refer you to Twitter if you'd like to relive this dark period.
I'd like to talk to the third group, though. The Who Cares bin frequently overlooks any potential upsides to the underground enterprise coming to light. Deadspin's Barry Petchesky:
What is the purpose of any straight college-scandal reporting, other than shaming players for trying to earn a tiny fraction of the money they’re earning for their schools and the NCAA? (I actually have an answer for this! The only reason fans and readers really care about recruiting scandals is because they’re hoping to see their rivals punished, and to be able to hold it over their heads for all eternity. Everything is fandom.)
That is certainly a reason but it's far from the only one. Without intervention there is no way the NCAA's system changes. Revenues have skyrocketed for twenty years and the only concessions the players have gotten have been either court-enforced or attempts to head off a PR disaster.
Without someone coming in and ripping the top off the anthill* this will continue in perpetuity. And while college basketball players are currently recouping some of their value under the table, it's nowhere near what they would in an open system. Patrick Hruby explains at... uh... Deadspin:
It’s no secret that the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s amateurism rules suppress above-board athlete compensation. Bowen’s supposed price tag shows that players are being shortchanged under the table, too. Let’s do the napkin math. First, compare NCAA basketball to the National Basketball Association—or any major sport where athletes enjoy their full rights and protections under antitrust and labor law, instead of being treated like second-class American citizens. ...
For schools at the highest level of the sport—that is, top 10-caliber programs that need the very best recruits to remain elite both in terms of winning lots of games and reaping the financial rewards that come with winning lots of games—the same NCPA study estimates that the average player is actually worth about $900,000 a year. And even that amount may be selling Bowen short, because if Louisville’s players received 50 percent of theirschool’s basketball revenues, they’d each be worth $1.72 million annually.
This money is instead going to worthless things like waterfalls and football locker rooms with VR headsets and Jim Delany. It will continue going to these things until such time as it is obvious to all that the NCAA's rules are not only unjust but entirely unenforceable, save the unlikely intervention of a subpoena-bearing organization. It will continue until and unless the NCAA is faced with a choice between its rules and money. An NCAA tournament in which no one gets to see Duke or a half-dozen other blue-bloods lose takes money out of CBS's pockets and therefore the NCAA's pockets. And we know what the NCAA will do: it will bend as much as it needs to maximize the amount of money entering the pockets of its executives.
That is at the very least the restoration of name and image rights to players and the expansion of the Olympic model to all sports, because that doesn't cost the NCAA anything. The FBI's investigation speeds up that day—and if it's big enough it might prompt it directly. Therefore it is good, sports tribalism aside.
*[Or a player strike at a key moment. See my annual plea for a basketball team in the national title game to go on strike for 15 no-commercial minutes at the scheduled tip time.]
Multiple well-placed sources have confirmed to the Ole Miss Spirit today that quarterback Shea Patterson has been granted permission by Ole Miss to talk to other programs about potentially transferring. Patterson and Ole Miss executed what is termed a "permission to contact" form on Friday, according to those sources. ...
Well-placed sources also told the Ole Miss Spirit that Michigan is probably the favorite to land Patterson, if he does execute a transfer from Ole Miss.
By the letter of the law he's not. The NCAA automatically grants a free transfer to anyone whose eligibility expires before a post-season ban does, but since Ole Miss just got one extra year only their rising seniors are 100% free and clear to leave. Patterson is going to be a junior.
However, it would make zero sense for Patterson to transfer to Michigan if he did have to sit out a year. If Patterson isn't immediately eligible he'd enter 2019 as a redshirt junior at a school with an entrenched starter who's either in the same class (Peters) or younger (McCaffrey). Therefore we have to assume there's a path to immediate eligibility in the world where Patterson does come to Michigan. This section of the NCAA rulebook that comes immediately before the "if your eligibility is covered by a post-season ban you can transfer free" section might be it:
188.8.131.52 Residence Requirement. The one-year residence requirement for student-athletes may be waived under the following conditions or circumstances: (Revised: 7/24/12) ...
For astudent-athlete who transfers to a member institution after loss of eligibility due to a violation of the regulation prohibiting pay for participation in intercollegiate athletics (see Bylaw 12.1.4) or a violation of recruiting regulations (see Bylaw 13.01.1), or for a student-athlete who transfers to a Division I institution after loss of eligibility due to involvement in a violation of the freshman or transfer eligibility requirements for financial aid, practice and competition set forth in Bylaws 14.3.1, 14.5.4 and 14.5.5. The Management Council may waive these requirements only upon a determination of the innocence or inadvertent involvement of the student-athlete in the violation.
I'm not sure what a "loss of eligibility" means in this context. It seems clear that this section is designed to let players leave after specific sorts of NCAA violations, as long as they're innocent of them personally. FWIW, in 2003 all Baylor basketball players were eligible to leave immediately after the Bliss scandal. That's... uh... maybe a sui generis kind of thing, but the NCAA only banned Baylor from the postseason for one year.
In this specific case, Ole Miss's desperate attempt to keep the program together might backfire on them. Safety Deontay Anderson sat this year out and is now petitioning for immediate eligibility—he's even using Houston Nutt's lawyer!—because Ole Miss lied to him about the investigation:
According to Mars, Anderson claims that both Freeze and Bjork indicated that the NCAA investigation would not have a negative impact on the football program and that the bulk of the alleged violations pre-dated Freeze’s arrival, which was proven to be false. Those statements were allegedly made both in a group setting during Anderson’s recruiting visit on Jan. 29-31, 2016, and in private meetings with Freeze, including one instance where his father Michael Anderson implored Freeze to tell the truth about the severity of the allegations and potential penalties.
Ole Miss did not publicly release its first Notice of Allegations until May of that year.
According to Mars, Anderson submitted to the NCAA that he would not have signed with Ole Miss had those statements not been made.
“...in that individual meeting with Coach Freeze on Jan. 31 Mr. Anderson very emphatically asked to just tell the truth about the nature of the allegations and what the implications could be.
“Mrs. Anderson vividly remembers that, and so does Deontay and it underscores how important it was to all these student-athletes and their parents to get a full understanding of what the situation was and it underscores how unconscionable it was for them to be told anything less than the truth.”
If—when?—Anderson gets that waiver that should open the floodgates for the entire 2016 class. If Michigan gets Shea Patterson because Hugh Freeze was lying to everyone and people, including purported journalists, believed him, you will hear the deep rumble of my evil mastermind laugh from sea to shining sea.
Uh... is Patterson going to be eligible? I mean, #1 QB in the class of 2016 decides on Ole Miss?
Patterson wasn't implicated in any of the violations. And Ole Miss hired Patterson's brother Sean immediately after Patterson committed. That, rather than some money to keep mom's lights on, was likely the impetus to go play for Hugh Freeze. These days high-end QB recruits are often from affluent families that can afford the camp-trotting and intensive coaching; the Pattersons were probably focused more on the pot of NFL gold at the end of the rainbow than anything up front.
FWIW, like Devin Bush Sr., Sean is a legitimate football coach. He had analyst/QC roles at LSU and Arizona before his move to Ole Miss, and was a three-year starter at Duquesne prior to that. I'd bet a dollar that if Patterson transfers Sean will come along in a similar non-coaching role.
And you're fine with this?
I think players should be paid. I also think people should follow the rules laid out for them, and advocate to change them if they feel the rules are wrong instead of seeking personal advantage by breaking them under the table.
But what about Peters... and McCaffrey?
The major downside of taking Patterson is what it might do to Michigan's already desperately thin collection of QBs not currently in high school. Brandon Peters had a promising start to his career, and might take badly to Harbaugh importing a guy just when the depth chart opened up for him. While Patterson's a big fish, losing Peters would be a blow. I'm not sure maybe one year of Patterson backed up by McCaffrey is preferable to certainly two and maybe three years of Peters.
Any transfer in would be a delicate situation. Michigan's best approach might be emphasizing that Patterson wants to be a one and done; if that's the case than Peters's situation is basically identical to what it was with Speight around: competing for the job and maybe getting blocked for one more year.
McCaffrey's extra year means Patterson won't be as threatening to him; don't think it would impact him much.
Any other dudes we could pirate away? Especially tackle-shaped dudes? Please tell me there's a tackle-shaped dude.
The big fish is of course Greg Little, the former five star who was PFF's third-highest-graded SEC OT as a true sophomore. Little has given no public indication that he's on his way out, has no connection to Michigan, and doesn't have a brother in coaching that helps explain why on Earth he'd go to Oxford. He is in that 2016 class that might be set free, though, and if dude is thinking about heading to the NFL after 2018... I mean. It could happen! Shut up.
We've received some intel that Michigan is interested in one of Ole Miss's wide receivers. Sophomore AJ Brown, PFF's top-rated SEC WR, led the conference with 75 catches for 1200 yards this year and is also in that 2016 class; junior DaMarkus Lodge caught 41 balls for 700 yards and is definitely free and clear to transfer as a rising senior. We think it's Brown but aren't clear on that. (Correction: we think it's Van Jefferson.) While Michigan has a lot of upcoming talent at WR they have maybe one established outside WR in Donovan Peoples-Jones and could not turn up their nose at Brown.
Michigan has no other spots of glaring need and doesn't have a lot of room to play with—this recruiting class is going to be smallish—so it's unlikely they go after anyone who doesn't directly address QB, WR, or OT.
Is this actually happening? These things get talked about all the time and they never ever happen.
This one looks like it's actually happening. Patterson and the WR in question are tentatively scheduled to be on campus this weekend. That's much farther than these rumors usually get.
"Chase dressed up as himself. So yeah, that probably doesn't surprise any of you guys," Hurst said on Monday, drawing laughs from a group of reporters inside Schembechler Hall.
I once printed out the word "BIRD" on a piece of paper and taped it to myself. For Halloween. Not on a regular Tuesday. Except that one time when I needed to be a bird. On a Tuesday.
Spanellis has words! Stephen Spanellis has been getting a significant amount of run as a bonus OL over the past two weeks, and now people are beginning to discover his vocabulary:
The story in question is offensive coordinator Tim Drevno's tale of perseverance. The story he told reporters earlier this season about his battle with an old outdoor water pump during his days as a groundskeeper in Montana more than 20 years ago.
The lesson: Keep pumping. Eventually, water's going to come.
"(Ben) Bredeson had seen (one of those pumps) before, he's more of a country boy than I am," Spanellis, a redshirt freshman guard said this week. "So, when Ben confirmed that they exist (I believed it).
"Though I have no personal empirical evidence that they do."
In addition to his strength, Spanellis’ intelligence has stood out. Last week, Harbaugh also called the sophomore one of the smartest players on the team.
“Football is a cerebral game,” Spanellis said. “You have to be very smart to understand offense and analyze defenses. I think it helps me out because when I go out there I know, generally speaking, what the look is — I don’t have to think about it — I just go out and I see what the front is and then I know exactly what to do.”
Spanellis has done well since emerging into the sixth OL; with Ruiz getting the start minus Onwenu Michigan looks to have a ton of interior linemen who can play now, and next year. About those tackles, though.
When Sarasota, a town in southwestern Florida, was rated America’s meanest city in 2006, Karan Higdon was just a nine-year-old kid who wore size nine-and-a-half shoes. He was a big kid, no doubt, who went to the Boys and Girls Club most days after school and sometimes met his friends for kickball outside in the neighborhood. He played Pee Wee football for the Port Charlotte Bandits, and even back then he was running over every tackler in his path.
Todd Johnson, though, spent that year with the Chicago Bears. Then in his late 20s, the professional defensive back was in his fourth season in the National Football League since getting drafted out of the University of Florida. After games, Johnson would pick up leftover football gloves and shoes from the Bears’ locker room to send back to Sarasota’s Riverview High School, his alma mater.
It was also the year Karan’s mother, Samantha Christian, decided the family should move out of Newtown. On the outskirts of Sarasota’s inner city, Newtown was a tight-knit community where everyone knew everyone, but it was also an area where you didn’t want to make a wrong turn.
Higdon, Johnson and Christian are just three characters in a bigger story of how one boy from Florida did what so many others couldn’t — get out. Higdon’s story is one of motivation, hard work and commitment. It’s a story about someone who made the right choices when others didn’t and stuck by them against adversity. It’s a story about a protagonist and a supporting cast that never left each other’s side.
This story begins in Sarasota.
Injury updates. Harbaugh was relatively optimistic about getting Grant Perry, Mike Onwenu, Ty Isaac, and Ty Wheatley back this weekend. All missed the Minnesota game. No update on Nico Collins, who went to the locker room late.
Happy birthday to the worst game ever. M00N was three years ago today.
I just went back to check the game column and it is titled "Infamy Is Immortality Too," which is extremely appropriate since we're mentioning a game from the Dead Hoke era on its third anniversary. Also:
When you bring up the M00N game to your buddy you will probably be making a point about the descent into unwatchable dreck that was the last two years of the mercifully short Hoke era.
I would like us to consider the disappointments from this year and compare them to those from 2014, and then sit quietly in contemplation.
“I think that would be very difficult to do,” said Alvarez, whose term with the committee expired in 2017. “There’s no part of me that says if you go undefeated as a Power 5 and win your conference championship, and you’re not going to be in the final four? I don’t see that. That would shock me.”
Well, Barry, you play in the Big Ten West, which is bad, and your nonconference schedule is three horrible teams. If, say, Georgia runs the table and loses to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, why shouldn't their win over Notre Dame be considered as much as Wisconsin's still-hypothetical win in the Big Ten championship game? "Undefeated" is a crap metric and it's good the committee has seen through Wisconsin's thin claim to being a top team this year.
Ranked No. 11 at the beginning of the season, the Michigan field hockey team has proven that ranking was far too low. The Wolverines rattled off 16 wins in a row with 13 shutouts to finish off their season. Then, Michigan dispatched Ohio State, No. 9 Northwestern and No. 5 Penn State to win the Big Ten Tournament, securing an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
They host Syracuse on Saturday in the opening round.
And soccer won its first-round game in the Big Ten tournament with a 4-1 win over Northwestern.
They move on to the semifinal versus five seed Wisconsin. For Reasons the semi is Somewhere In Indiana; it's noon on BTN with a potential final Sunday at noon.
Representation in the first round should continue. It will be a less spectacular draft for Michigan this year, but that's a good thing because they're only losing five starters. One will be a first rounder for certain: Mo Hurst. PFF has been raving about him about as long as I have and have not stopped. He's in the top ten of their first mock draft of the year:
The nation’s top-graded defensive player at 95.5 overall, Hurst is disruptive against the run and as a pass-rusher. He’s built in the mold of current Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, but it can’t hurt to have two disruptors up front, especially in the age of multiple defensive fronts and high subpackage usage. Hurst has been dominant in his 1,233 career snaps and an interior havoc-creator is coveted in today’s NFL.
Mason Cole, the only other guy who is vaguely in the mix as a first rounder, isn't listed. He's probably a second day pick.
More feathers for the camel. The NCAA is about to be shocked, shocked that the dude who took over for Calipari at Memphis has been accused of working with a bagman type guy, by the guy. The numbers here are not spectacular...
According to the school, Jackson accepted benefits totaling less than $525 while Okogie accepted benefits totaling less than $750. ...
But Bell insists they do not tell the full story.
He said he also spent "about $500" on groceries for the players when they stayed at his house from May 9-13, and he provided photo evidence of Okogie and Jackson in his swimming pool. The NCAA should also be considering, he said, a 220-mile roundtrip ride from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Bell's house in Tucson, which Bell said he provided for both players, as an impermissible benefit.
...but every little bit helps the general untenability of the NCAA's rules become more widely known.
Meanwhile this Bell guy is arguing that he's offered further impermissible benefits like he's looking to wring six more dollars out of his tax return, because he's mad at Pastner for whatever reason. Never piss off the bagman. Also never have a bagman who is a delicate flower.
Why would Bell turn on Pastner -- the man he once described as a brother, the man he many times said saved his life -- in such a vindictive and public way? Asked that question several times, Bell explained it in a variety of ways. He said he feels Pastner has failed to compensate him properly for the "work" he's done. He said Pastner didn't call him on his birthday this year, which is something he interpreted as disrespectful.
I have now added "will forget to call bagmen on their birthdays" to the infinitely long list of reasons why I would be a bad college basketball coach. It's just below "refuses to call timeouts on principle" and just above "does not know how to coach basketball."