Unverified Voracity Continues NLI Rantin' Comment Count

Brian February 9th, 2015 at 4:38 PM


Roquan Smith, trend-setter?

"Don't sign an NLI" spreads. Kevin Trahan details the reasons at SB Nation; Andy Staples has an article in SI:

Though most players don’t realize it, they do not have to sign the NLI to receive a scholarship. They need only sign a financial aid agreement at their chosen school. The financial aid paperwork provides (almost) the same guarantee of a scholarship as the NLI, but unlike the NLI, it doesn’t strip the player of the only leverage he’ll have until he graduates from college.

Why is the NLI the worst contract in American sports? It requires players to sign away their right to be recruited by other schools. If they don’t enroll at the school with which they signed, they forfeit a year of eligibility. Not a redshirt year, but one of their four years to play. In return, the NLI guarantees the player nothing.

That's right: nothing. If you don't get in, which certain massively oversigned teams will massage from time to time, you can be forced out. And even if you do and have been on campus for summer semester, you can still get the boot. The NLI gives you nothing. If you're big time, there's no reason to sign it.

Get The Picture has the view from the Georgia side of things.

More on Gwendolyn Bush. Staples also has an excellent anecdote on Bush's qualifications for her new job:

…if anyone is qualified for this job, it’s Bush. At most large programs, player development personnel work in a mentoring role for current players and serve as contact points for recruits and their parents when they seek info about the program and school.

Bush is perfect for this job because she knows exactly what parents will ask. When Lyons was being recruited the first time around, she asked pretty much every question. It was Bush who designed the in-depth questionnaire Lyons sent to every school that offered him a scholarship. The 50 questions covered everything from insurance coverage to graduation rates to the distance to the nearest department store.

Jim Harbaugh's Stanford was the winner in that recruitment. Bush evidently impressed Harbaugh sufficiently to circle back around to her when he needed a liaison between departments and parents.

A parent who managed her kid's recruitment methodically has a deep knowledge of the relevant issues. The fact that her kid might transfer to Michigan for one year when Michigan returns three starters in the secondary plus Jabrill Peppers plays little to no role in her hire.

Another hire. Michigan's hired Matt Doherty from Miami. Doherty was "director of player personnel" at Miami, and the guy at 247 reporting his hire says he's in a similar role at Michigan. It's not the same role, as Chris Singletary has that title.

Doherty's title is "Recruiting Coordinator" on the directory, FWIW, so this kind of seems like not even a lateral move for him. Michigan's getting serious about support staff.

Illinois: still Illinois. I know the prequels were confusing, but the Stormtroopers were the bad guys.

YOU'RE NEXT… time to get shot in massive numbers by our story's heroes. Points for honesty, at least. No points for football. Just for honesty.

This one is totally random and not at all my fault. A few weeks after implying that Caris LeVert's foot issue was the result of working too hard, Izzo is down one weird guy:

The problem that will be tougher to solve is the fact freshman Javon Bess might out for the rest of the season with an injured right foot.

"Javon might be done for the year," Izzo said Monday at his weekly news conference. "I don't like where it's headed, but he'll definitely be out for a couple of weeks."

Maybe he should have just had his team practice free throws.

Cord cutting continues apace. It was kind of a big deal when Dish offered a 20 dollar monthly package with ESPN and ESPN2 on it, but now they've announced there's an add-on sports pack with yet more coverage:

Sports Extra ($5/mo):
ESPN News, ESPN U, SEC ESPN Network, ESPN Buzzer Beater, Universal Sports, Bein Sports

That just about covers anything an SEC fan would need. If that package somehow added BTN, the only Michigan basketball and football games that wouldn't be on the service would be the occasional road game (or preseason tournament) against a team in the Pac-12 or Mountain West that would end up on the Fox networks.

It's just a matter of time. That amount of time: however long it takes Google to inflict real competition on enough prime markets to hit the cheap gigabit tipping point. That's maybe ten years off; we'll be stuck with Rutgers forever. At least going to a game that far away is more plausible when you can sleep overnight in your self-driving car?

It's going to be okay man. Michigan is 21st in the Power Rank's four-year recruiting rankings, and 17th via SB Nation's methodology. That includes Michigan's extremely weak Hoke-Rodriguez transition class and generally doesn't account for Michigan's extremely low attrition. A big time class like everyone expects would replace the transition guys in the stats, leaving Michigan with a talent base you can do lots of stuff with—kind of like that year when that awful APR fell off the stats and Michigan shot up.

Etc.: Hyman third in the Hobey Watch. Going to be tough to catch Jack Eichel. Dan Dakich twitter fight? Don't mind if I do. Oregon state senator mad that Oregon didn't take any Oregonians in their most recent recruiting class. Lax kicks off the season with a win.



February 9th, 2015 at 4:42 PM ^

Just an amazing job by them. AND they are going to add AMC to the base package soon.  I'm signing up as we speak- I don't think there is any reason to get the sports add-on, however. 


February 9th, 2015 at 4:52 PM ^

Michigan is 21st in the four year recruiting rankings.  Jim Harbaugh will have them playing up to that level a lot sooner than people think.  Note that everyone 16th or higher won at least ten games in the 2014-15 season, as did #19 Arizona.  

I almost wish we could forget about the rest of basketball 2014-15 and fast-forward to football season.


February 9th, 2015 at 4:56 PM ^

I just don't understand how Google manages to expand into every market ever yet stay profitable.  And they do it well enough to make driving cable companies out of business seem plausible.


February 9th, 2015 at 5:14 PM ^

It's actually relatively straightforward. Google still makes most of their money by advertising and online search. So far the best way that companies make money on the internet (like, say, MGoBlog) is by having ads. Google sells lots of ads and makes lots of money. The more time that people spend on the internet, the more ads they see and the more money google makes. Google can afford to do all these side projects because they make up for it in the long run through advertising revenue.

Really fast internet? that translates into more clicks/ads/money for google

Self driving cars? You'll look at your phone instead, and thus more clicks/ads/$

The big one that I heard recently is that Google is looking into wireless. The thought is that if they want to, google could really upset the current market by subsidizing data costs. If you spend the time on the internet on your phone, google makes more money.

It's very similar to Amazon so far. Everything Amazon is breaking into (tablets, phones, etc) is designed to get people to spend more time and money on Amazon. Google is getting people to spend more time online, and thus they make more money.



February 9th, 2015 at 5:19 PM ^

I could have probably stuck a few more "very's" in there. 

They dominate a key aspect of the economy, search (particular web search), like few companies dominate. They literally are a verb (let me Google that). Thus, they make billions and billions from search ads every year, as there are not many alternatives (Yahoo? AOL? Or even Bing? Please).

They are using this search cash to buy and develop anything and everything, as web searching is becoming less important (e.g., on mobile, there is less screen size to display results or you might just ask your Twitter follower or Facebook friends for the "answer" to one of your searches). That's why they bought Android, YouTube, Waze, Nest, etc, and why they are developing cable systems. They want to dominate the "Internet of Things", and use their search technology across all devices -- from refrigerators to homes to cars to phones.


February 9th, 2015 at 4:56 PM ^

I can't wait to hear how Saban justifies the NLI as being good for players and complaining that players don't want to sign it anymore.


February 9th, 2015 at 5:31 PM ^

to be too happy when 4 and 5 star players refuse to sign LOIs.  Will they insist that they sign or try to pressure them into it (sign or we can't guarantee your spot)?  Otherwise, what protection is there for the school.  You won't be sure that you have a player or not, right up to the start of school.  One year of that and there will be changes made to the LOI.


February 9th, 2015 at 6:33 PM ^

Exactly.  NLI's aren't going anywhere.  I doubt this year's schenanigans will be a regular occurrance.  You can be damn sure that next recruiting cycle, rival schools are going to absolutely torch UCLA and OSU for what happened this year.

Bottom line is, the rights being given up via the NLI aren't a big deal from a perspective recruit.  EVERY parent will tell you the same thing: "Keep your options open" is advice falling on deaf ears to a teenager.

Not signing an NLI is a option available only to maybe the top 5% recruits in the country.  No one else has the cache to demand that the school hold onto their spot without an NLI.   It's like telling someone "Hey, don't sign a non-compete clause with your employer.  It's 100% benefit to your employer, 0% benefit to you."  Thanks for the advice, mister.  Too bad it's not always a realistic option.  Unless you're a rock star in your field, they'll just give the job to someone else who is willing to agree to their terms.


February 9th, 2015 at 6:48 PM ^

to the pay players and player union idea, but this LOI crap needs reform. The idea a school can lock a kid in and then pin them to their commitment regardless of what the school /coaches do, is crap.
Perhaps, on a verifiable level obviously, any recruit who signs a LOI can recind the LOI within three days of coaching change. IE UCLA/ohio st. shennanigans. It is very clear and obvious both schools had major changes in staff coinciding with NLI day. Perhaps the student not only has the right to withdraw, the University loses that scholarship for a four year period. Make schools accountable, they have 30 days prior to NLI to announce coaching changes, even if it means moving the date to March or April when coaching dust has settled.
Or...simply know what you are getting yourself into...if you sign with a notoriously slimy program, well...what you do is what you get. Northwestern not likely going to do this. Michigan, not going to do this...etc. Like I said with weber, you want all this attention and "love" without consequence? what? high risk, high loss or high gain...always been how I've seen the world, you can take the conservative route, but, and I HATE to say this...if weber stays with ohio st. I would bet he will still have the chance to be successful...unless he's another Briontte Dunn.


February 9th, 2015 at 11:33 PM ^

At a certain point, doesn't it make more sense for high schools to regulate college football programs for not disclosing coaching changes?  E.g. South Carolina high schools and Bobby Petrino.

Why does a three day rescission timeframe work better than a five day or a thirty day?  Won't coaching changes then be announced the day after end of such period? 

Does it matter which coaches leave?  Does it have to be the recruit's position coach or the coach that he got along with the best?  Should the NCAA expend resources to determine whether the departure of a coach after National Signing Day was in good faith?  Should RB recruits at schools like ND where the RB coach got poached by OSU be entitled to rescind their LOIs? 

These are all questions that complicate any solution to the swamp that is college football.    

Yes, it's slimy, unethical and whatever you want to call it.  I am certainly sympathetic to recruits who undergo last minute changes to head coaches and coordinators, but I suspect the change of a position coach is no where near an issue for substantially most players (including Mike Weber) than some are RAGING it to be especially at a program like OSU which has the resources to simply hire another mercenary position coach. 

snarling wolverine

February 9th, 2015 at 10:00 PM ^

I doubt this year's schenanigans will be a regular occurrance.

I think they will be, actually. Assistants will always leave for other jobs, and there will be a fair amount of lying involved. Note that OSU isn't going to lose Weber, so they're not being punished. By next year it'll be forgotten by most people, aside from perhaps Cass recruits.


February 9th, 2015 at 11:08 PM ^

Yeah, I'm not sure what a good solution would be for this very reason.  In my opinion, mgoblog writers and posters can be overly black and white with these issues when they appear somewhat gray to me.  It's why I don't RAGE over a lot of the shenigans that is college football.

The only recruiting/signing issue that really gets me pissed is oversigning as that basically defeats the whole purpose of promising the kids four year scholarships.


February 9th, 2015 at 4:57 PM ^

Let's look at their record: I know they lost in IV. But they won in V. Then lost again in VI. But in I, they no-showed, Then in II they won(?) over the droid army and in III they won(?) again (after switching sides)?

So that is a record of 3-2, which prorates to 7-5, which I think Illinois would take at this point.

*I might have this wrong, as I found the pre-quels hopelessly boring and confusing (e.g., so Obi-Wan is going to that planet get the Storm Troopers, i.e., Clones, to help battle the droid army and Count Dooku, who is really a double agent working for Chancellor Palpatine, aka the Emperor, who really is going to take over the Storm Troopers once there becomes an empire -- so all this means I should have been rooting for the droid army in II? Ah screw it...I wouldn't have to think of these dumb pre-quels if I did have young family members who asked about these things)


February 9th, 2015 at 5:18 PM ^

If the storm troopers were clones, how did Luke find that short-storm-trooper suit?

Also, why did they have different helmets in the prequels? It sure seems like that's a massively expensive project - changing armor/helmets for an entire army in like a 10-20 year period. Do the clones age? See, now I'm confused.

At least there's going to be more of these now that people can hate.


February 9th, 2015 at 5:22 PM ^

The Dish package is $25, Netflix is say $10 (assume that you don't do Hulu or another pay service), that's $35/ month. Internet is another $50 (so $85 total)

For me, TV + Internet is about $100/ month (I get BTN, but no HBO's or anything like that). I'd rather pay the $15 more and get hundreds of more channels (and not deal with an antenna for ABC, CBS, NBC...). The $15 also gets me 2 TiVO DVR's. It's not worth unbundling. 


February 9th, 2015 at 6:32 PM ^

You're probably not in the target market for this. Most people this will appeal to are already paying close to $100 for cable alone (and even more if they are getting premium channels). And probably more than $35 for high speed internet. And already have some streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc on top of it. So if these people can get most of what they use cable TV for with the Sling service, it's an easy way to save a lot of money. If you can get all the cable TV and high speed internet you need for $100, it's clear this isn't the most appealing deal, but you're in a shrinking minority. Cable bills are only going up.

snarling wolverine

February 9th, 2015 at 6:28 PM ^

It's pretty amazing that Oregon can be a top 10 (top 5?) program with no in-state recruiting base.  (And Oregon State only signed one in-state guy, so it's not an issue of Oregon being picky.)



February 9th, 2015 at 7:03 PM ^

Brian keeps seeming to forget that there are Michigan alums who live on the East Coast.  I find that rather odd seeing that I attended one of his events a handful of years ago in Washington, DC.

For the record, it took me about 3.5 hours to drive from my home in the Maryland DC suburbs to New Brunswick, NJ to attend the Michigan-Rutgers football game last season.  It takes me at most 20 minutes' driving time to get to the Maryland campus, whiere I've been to three times so far to watch UM teams play in College Park (with the next event later this month to watch the men's basketball team in person).  That's marked less than the time it takes me to get to MGoBlog's Center of the Universe, i.e., Ann Arbor, which takes just under eight hours.

I realize Brian thinks JIm Delany and all the other Big Ten execs are morons because they're "suits".  If he can make a compelling case for why having an extended geographic footprint dooesn't work in an era where bundled cable goes away and is replaced by alternates that Dish ofers up or Google/Netflix may make available, then I'm all ears.  Also, if he really does think that the Big Ten Network is going to be SOL in the new era of sports broadcasting, it would be very instructive to find out what he would propose doing about it, what the actual revenue stream from it would be, etc.  Complaining is easy--laying out actual dollars and cents solutions is a little tougher.   

I do recall at the event how Brian asked the people from the UM DC Alumni Asssociation to give a show of hands for the additions of Rutgers and Maryland.  The majority didn't like the idea.  Not surprisingly, Brian didn't ask the follow up questison, i.e., how many of the people in the audience planned to attend a Michigan football game, etc. at those two school campuses.  I suspect he didn't do so because he knew the vast majority of them would make the trek to Piscataway and  College Park and that'd undermine whatever point he was trying to make about those two schools joining the Big Ten.


February 9th, 2015 at 10:11 PM ^

Are you serious? Just because east coast alums can attend games at 2 crappy venues supersedes the fact that we now don't play Iowa or Wisconsin for up to 5 years at a time? And you refer to Ann Arbor as the center of the universe sarcastically? It is - after all - the home of this university that we all hold dear and follow closely. Rutgers and Maryland - if we could give them back to whence they came, nearly every Michigan - and Big Ten - fan I know would do it in a heartbeat!


February 10th, 2015 at 1:12 PM ^

The Big Ten starts its nine-game football schedule rotation in 2016 with Michigan playing six games against the teams in the Eastern Division (Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland) and three against Western Divsion programs.  That leaves UM to schedule its three non-conference games each season.

The conference has set it up so that teams from each division play one another at least once over a three year period.  Most of the Eastern Division teams (outside Indiana, who has the annual game with Purdue) will play one selected team four years in a row.

In Michigan's case, that program will be Wisconsin (from 2016 to 2019).  I suspect the next four year cycle (2020 to 2023) will have UM playing Nebraska, but that all depends on how the two programs look to match up in that time period.

The rotation of Western Division opponents for the 2016 to 2019 time frame is as follows:

2016 - Illinois, at Iowa

2017 - at Purdue, Minnesota

2018 - Nebraska, at Northwestern

2019 - Iowa, at Illinois

So you are wildly incorrect to say that Michigan won't play Iowa or Wisconsin for a five year period of time.  

I'll also add that if "crappy venues" is really a problem for you, then check out Ross Ade Stadium at Purdue (capacity 57,236) or Ryan Field at Northwestern (47,130) in person.   If a less than stellar stadium is a non-qualifier for you, then perhaps you should be talking about eliminating the Boilermakers and the Wildcats from the schedule as well.

I love Ann Arbor and I'm a Michigan alum.  My criticism about it being the "center of the universe" is a comment about Brian clearly discounting the fact that there are East Coast alums and that we now have the ability to attend a number of UM sporting events (basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, soccer, etc.) in person, albeit in College Park and Piscataway.  

My other criticisms stand regarding his comments about what would happen to the Big Ten Network and to what I assume are the conference distributions in a post-bundled cable environment.  If Google or Dish or Netflix offer packages to broadcast B1G sports, would there be a revenue shortfall for the conference?  Brian has no answer for this to date.

Matters should come into greater focus later this year when the Big Ten begins negotiating its media rights with the networks.  UM's confernce distributions for FY 2015 (which ends on 30 June) is projected to be around $32.0M with $22.6M coming for all its television sources (ABC/ESPN, BTN, CBS, etc.).  When Maryland and Rutgers joined the conference, media sources indicated that the conference projection revenue numbers would be in the low $40M range per school with the latest I read being $44.5M.  Obviously, that means whoever gets those rigts (probably ABC/ESPN, although Fox Sports has to be in contention) has shown they're willing to pay substantiallly more than what was paid in the previous contract--and they'll do it in an environment where we might see unbundled cable.  The previous contract was for ten years, so it'll be interesting to see if the winner of the contract would be willing to pay the B1G over another decade long period.

Speaking of scheduling, perhaps you need to ask yourself as a fan what sort of non-conference teams you'd like to see on the conference?  Would you like to see Michigan "schedule up" with two Power 5 teams like it did in 2020/1 when Virginia Tech and Washington are on the slate?  Would you be willing to have one less home game every two years under this strategy?  Does this make sense to do given the current four-team playoff?  Does this sort of thing maximize the value of tickets/the football experience for the fans?  Or does it make sense to "schedule down" and only have one Power 5 team on the schedule?

Perhaps Brian could give us his opinion on how UM should schedule non-conference in the coming years, especially as he doesn't want the fans to be treated like customers.  There are slot available on the schedule just three years down the line (two in 2018, one in 2019) and Jim Hackett will have to fill those openings.  Will he doe what David Brandon did for the 2020/1 seasons and "schedule up" or will he "schedule down"?   Now is the time for MGoBlog to endorse one of these scheduling approaches, and not when its a fait accompli.    


February 9th, 2015 at 11:18 PM ^

...without them being in the conference. The UConn game was a perfect example of this (e.g., it allowed Derek Jeter and his hottie girlfriend Hannah Davis to easily attend).

Maryland and (especially) Rutgers is/was a mistake. The B1G is now an amalgamation of teams, some of whom occasionally play each other, when the moon phases hit.

Old Lax Wolve

February 10th, 2015 at 10:26 AM ^

that Penn State is no longer the closest venue to see Michigan sports. With College Park just minutes away, the Michigan football game every other year will be a major event for my household. Not to mention the annual basketball game.

Though the biggest reason that I am happy about adding Maryland and Rutgers is lacrosse. With those two schools and associate member John's Hopkins, ours is arguably the best lacrosse conference in the nation - in the inaugural B1G season. Michigan's nascent varsity team is now going to compete against the best, which you have to do along the way to becoming the best.  Like I said, very happy.


February 9th, 2015 at 7:21 PM ^

The OSU response to Harbaugh's tweet is so Buckeye, it is perfect.  JH should have it framed. It is like saying, "Sure, we mislead a recruit; but WOOOO!!!!, National Champs!!!!"


February 10th, 2015 at 1:30 AM ^

Of Nat'l Champs !!! Was a nice way to say maybe Harbaugh should worry about football. And rather than show your team how to take the low road, and use a great kids dilemma to serve your own personal ENVY. Maybe, just maybe you should focus on football. And if you must bring up the topic of Weber, maybe Harbaugh should tweet his mother and apologize for UM's behavior towards him after he chose to play for a team that wins and will give him a chance at a bowl game.
Yea, I'm pretty sure that is exactly hat " National Champions" meant. Granted, it is pretty strong. Could have just said " Bowl Game" and made the same point.


February 9th, 2015 at 9:56 PM ^

Izzo did address Bess's injury at the same time he suggested Levert was overworked.  He blamed Bess's injury on being overworked by his AAU coaches and the AAU system.  Never Tom.  Per Tom, MSU has an unfair number of injuries--but again, not Tom's fault.

More importantly, I panicked when I saw the Matt Doherty hiring---cuz I feared it might be this guy.




February 10th, 2015 at 1:20 AM ^

Is the OP suggesting that the coaching staffs should not insist that a recruit sign a LOI ? Because if suddenly we think this is a good idea because we are under some illusion that a recruit or two ( weber) would be playing for Michigan if they had not signed a LOI. Well we should really think again.
All you need to do is read Webers mom's Facebook post to know that even if he wanted to leave OSU (which clearly he does not, nor has he ever implied that ) he would be playing at Purdue before he ended up playing for Michigan. Fair to assume his family may be a bit mad at OSU. But completely disgusted with UM nation.
I find it interesting that suddenly we want to make the methods and processes of recruiting a Hot Topic the year that we fail horribly at it. And yes UM has failed horribly this year no matter what anyone might want to say to make themselves feel equal,or better than the actual Elite programs out there. UM is not Elite. Not on the Field, and not in Recruiting. Not this year. Maybe soon?


February 10th, 2015 at 10:26 AM ^

I read Gwen Bush's list of 50 questions and thought that most of them were good questions and seemed like stuff most people should know about.  Perhaps Michigan should just work on producing a FAQ of the top 50 questions and send it in a mailer to the kids along with the other recruiting material. 

I think explaining the logistics would also help Michigan seem like a great place too because Michigan actually has a really good international airport nearby with good cheap hotels too.  It costs like $100-200 a night to stay in Michigan but like $200-400 a night near UCLA (I stayed at the W in Westwood a few times and it's not cheap and not that nice either).  Also car rental prices in Michigan are so much cheaper than in LA or another major city.  These are costs that parents would have to pay out-of-pocket so I feel like these cost savings are advantages in Michigan's favor that I hope Michigan can show to the parents.  In particular, this last recruiting cycle was annoying because UCLA fans kept on pointing out that it snows in Michigan (duh, but it also snows in half of the USA) as if that was some sort of deficiency.  I wanted to say, but yea, at least our stadium is on campus.  Our students walk to the stadium on gameday and that's part of the awesomeness.