Unverified Voracity Is Mostly About Spreadsheets

Submitted by Brian on April 21st, 2016 at 2:05 PM

apr-booksapr-birds

APR check-in. We no longer have to do the thing with the books and the deep dive into what is required of Michigan to avoid penalties, so let's just jam the latest APR data into a UV bullet. Michigan's multi-year football APR is now a very shiny 989, which is seventh nationally and somehow only fourth in the Big Ten:

Rank School APR
1 Wisconsin 992
2 Minnesota 992
3 Northwestern 992
4 Michigan 989
5 Illinois 982
6 Nebraska 981
7 Indiana 979
8 MSU 978
9 Maryland 977
10 Rutgers 972
11 Iowa 971
12 OSU 971
13 Purdue 968
14 PSU 960

Again, a lot of credit for this has to go to Brady Hoke, who inherited a bad situation and made it very good. Also that's another thing James Franklin lags his peers in.

Every other Michigan sport did very well, with many batting 1000.

Just when the satellite camp thing can't get any weirder. UCLA AD Dan Guerrero "didn't vote the way he was supposed to" per Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott:

That makes two conferences who are utterly baffled at their own dang vote, with the Sun Belt the other. If those conferences had voted the way the vast majority of their coaches had wanted, the camp ban fails 8-7.

Guerrero's attempt to justify his vote is as bizarre as you might expect:

“My assessment was that one of the two was going to pass, and we didn’t know which one,” Guerrero said. “I had to vote for 59 because if that failed and 60 passed, Pac-12 schools would have been at a disadvantage.”

59 is the total ban. 60 allowed camps in the same state or within 50 miles. The Pac-12 apparently has a rule that wouldn't allow them to take advantage of the latter. Guerrero seems oblivious to the fact that the Pac-12 can, you know, change its own rules. He was also oblivious to the fact that the ACC and SEC were going to press for a camp ban…

“Going into the meetings, it was the feeling of many members of the D1 Council that these proposals would be tabled at the request of the FOC, thereby rendering both of these proposals moot, and keeping the current rule relative to ‘satellite camps’ unchanged,” he wrote to his colleagues last week.

…despite the ACC and SEC publicly proclaiming they would do so for a solid year. People in charge of things are just in charge of them, man. I mean, this is the whole email Guerrero sent out:

“Prior to these meetings, I had extensive conversations with Pac-12 representatives in regard to the Conference’s position on a number of legislative proposals — the ‘satellite camp’ proposals included,” Guerrero wrote to his Pac-12 colleagues. “With an 0–11–1 vote cast by the Pac-12 Council, a vote to oppose [both] proposals was the charge with the ultimate goal to refer the legislation [back] to the Football Oversight Committee (FOC).

“Going into the meetings, it was the feeling of many members of the D1 Council that these proposals would be tabled at the request of the FOC, thereby rendering both of these proposals moot, and keeping the current rule relative to ‘satellite camps’ unchanged. In fact this was the preferred outcome by our Conference as indicated in the preparatory materials I received prior to the meeting.

“When this did not happen … I made the call to support [the ACC’s version], which was the preference of the two options.”

That is a pile of wordvomit that an eighth-grader should be embarrassed about. It's flabbergasting that an athletic director can barely express himself.

Overdue for some Sankey smarm no doubt. Yep:

“What’s caught me by surprise is the notion that there’s a lot of name-calling and finger-pointing,” he said. “It’s not a healthy byproduct of the legislative process.”

When you have no case on the merits, attack the tone of the people with a case. That is also a brutally awkward construction, but I guess these days the job of an NCAA muckety-muck is not to explain but to obscure. Speaking of…

Let's define what a bubble is first. Economist Andrew Zimbalist thinks the NCAA is currently in a bubble environment because they might have to play players:

Zimbalist says this kind of spending is not sustainable, and he thinks litigation of some stripe — courts deciding players can be paid beyond their scholarships, for instance — could cause the bubble to burst. Among the other potential wildcards are an ongoing lawsuit pertaining to athlete compensation limits that seeks hundreds of millions in damages, concussion lawsuits, or a change in the National Labor Relations Board’s position on college athletes unionizing.

“There are big-time things leading it to pop,” says Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and author of Unpaid Professionals: Commercializationand Conflict in Big-Time College Sports. “It’s an unstable situation.”

This is a weird way to define a "bubble." If college athletics are in a bubble situation it's because of the changing landscape of cable. Their bubble is more or less ESPN's bubble, with ticket sales in an HD world a potential additional factor. Once people with no interest in sports can watch Naked and Afraid without having to give six bucks to ESPN, there might have to be some belt-tightening. Obviously, that doesn't appear to be kicking in just yet, or any time soon—CBS just extended its deal for the NCAA Tournament until 2032.

Being forced to reallocate revenues to athletes and away from coaches, administrators, and nine-digit palaces for nonrevenue sports is not a "bubble" unless you take an exceedingly narrow view of the stakeholders here. And, yes, for the vast majority of NCAA schools this discussion is irrelevant. For the ones for which it is relevant, their ever-increasing income is the opposite of a bubble. If this quote applies at all…

Zimbalist says athletics departments simply can’t keep spending so much. “Politically, it’s not sustainable,” he says. “Legally, it’s not sustainable. Economically, it’s not sustainable.”

…it's to the second tier who are a trying to keep up with the Joneses, which is an entirely different situation than most Power 5 schools find themselves in.

If you'd like a more erudite take, John Gasaway was also irritated by this article:

For starters the nominal news hook presented by the numbers — most athletic departments operate at what they are pleased to term deficits — would seem to be something of an awkward fit for our traditional stock of “bubble” iconography. Maybe it’s me, but I always assumed that tulip merchants in 1637, the South Sea Company in 1720, Webvan.com in 1999, and subprime lenders in 2006 instead showed astronomic operating surpluses. In fact I rather thought this was precisely the red flag in those cases.

Changing the distribution of a pie does not change the pie. I mean:

In 2011, the University of Michigan athletic department employed 253 people, according to state records. Four years later, in 2015, it was 334, up 32 percent.

During that period, the average salary grew 22.4 percent, to $89,851. Over a seven-year span, the number of athletic department employees making six figures went from 30 to 81. …

Michigan didn't add 32 percent more sports in those four years, or 32 percent more scholarship athletes, requiring 32 percent more staffing.

It just made about $30 million more dollars per year, from $122.7 million in 2011 to $152.5 million in 2015. Most of the increase came courtesy of the Big Ten Network.

Schools have a motivation to spend all the money they make so it looks like they don't have enough to pay their athletes. Dave Brandon's Michigan was the leading edge of a nationwide trend.

The reason this article comes out annually. USA Today has updated its database of income and expenses for D-I schools. Michigan is fourth behind Texas A&M (which had a huge donation surge for stadium renovations they're undertaking and will slide back into the pack next year), Texas, and OSU.  They've still got that niggling 200k or so a year counted as a university subsidy that looks bad despite the obvious fact that they don't need to have their income supplemented.

But would you go back in time to kill Baby Anonymous NFL Scout? It's that time of year again where NFL types operating under a cloak of anonymity slam the character of various draft prospects. One article out of Wisconsin on the quarterback class has an absolute pile of "say that to my face" quotes. On Connor Cook:

"Let's put it this way: he's not Kirk Cousins," another scout said. "The person kills him. Selfish. He goes out too much. It's a tell-tale sign when your teammates don't like you, and I know they don't. He's good, but that position is more than physical attributes. It's also leadership. Is he going to lead your guys? I don't think so

On Christian Hackenberg:

"He hangs out more with managers than he does teammates. It tells me he likes to be king of the little people rather than king of the big people."

And the doozy on Cardale Jones:

"Strong arm. Big, big body. Not the brightest cookie in the world. I worry about him when he gets money in his pocket. I just don't know if it's all there mentally."

Anonymous NFL Scout is the wooooooorst.

Rugby tackling is spreading. Pete Carroll's push to get more teams tackling like the Seahawks do—with the shoulder first, wrapping up the legs—appears to be taking off:

Dozens of teams, both on the Power Five and Group of Five levels, now utilize the rugby style during practice, drawn to a change in approach after watching a video from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll detailing the method. Boiled down, Carroll’s system — one he calls “Hawk Tackling” — offers a drastic change from tradition: rather than tackling with the head, defenders are taught to lead with their shoulders.

“It’s definitely a safer way to tackle,” said Rutgers defensive lineman Darius Hamilton. “With the rugby-style tackle, you want to kill the engine, which is basically wrapping the thighs, stopping the legs. So I definitely think this tackling system is more efficient, and it’s just going to take the matter of the more reps you can get of it because you can’t do something like that enough.”

Nebraska and Rutgers appear to be using that system. Will be interesting to see that in practice this year. Certainly hasn't hurt the Seahawks.

Alright then. Mike Spath reports that Michigan is going to have a lot of goalies next year:

Lavigne had a .914 in the USHL this year after a rough 2014-15; LaFontaine had a .921 in the NAHL. Michigan also has a commit from NTDP goalie Dylan St. Cyr next year, so things are about to be crowded even with Zach Nagelvoort graduating after 2016-17.

Michigan also added one of LaFontaine's teammates today:

Winborg is a 21-year-old Swede who has been a PPG player in the NAHL for the last couple years. Guys with his profile are usually depth players; Michigan does need depth. Fellow Swede Gustaf Westlund is a 2017 player, not a 2016 player as I incorrectly assumed, so Michigan could use an extra forward on next year's team.

Etc.: gotta respect the hustle here. Hopefully the dude gets asylum, because anyone who gets out of South Sudan should. The O'Bannon case did establish the NCAA as a monopoly. The woooooorst. Michigan killing the charity bowl. No mercy.

Comments

Chris S

April 21st, 2016 at 9:36 PM ^

Mr. Hugh,

I am ashamed that I have never seen your name, nor your lovely picture on here. But I can assure you that, for some reason, seeing the name, "Hugh Jass" floating in orbit over a picture of Charlie Weiss made me laugh like a 4th grader. I only wish that I could have happened upon your avatar earlier in my lifespan. Thank you kind sir.

Truthbtold

April 21st, 2016 at 5:50 PM ^

Have the second easiest course schedule in the Big 10, the only players who take easier classes than UM players are Purdue players. So don't get to excited about APR. Academic Progress is not so hard when your hardest course is landscape design and maintence. This is also why PSU is so low, they rank second in degree difficulty, NW ranks 1st and like it or not OSU ranks 3rd. So I wouldn't get to excited about Hoke steering all the players to get degrees in general studies, it was really out to serve Hokes priorities and ambitions, not the student athlete's.
This is also the very reason Deshaun Hand ended up at Bama, Hand could sense that Hoke and other coaches were not very optimistic or enthusiastic about him perusing an engineering degree, so tho UM is clearly the better school, he chose a Coach that wanted him to pursue his dreams rather than protect his eligibility. UM, keepin dem dumb.
This isn't new either. UM has been dumbing down the football players for decades. Just look at Desmond Howard, the guy could hardly complete a sentence when he started at ESPN, it's only slightly better now. Then look at Kirk Herbstriet, the guy makes Desmond look like a special needs diversity hire. Embarrassing

Tunneler

April 21st, 2016 at 7:32 PM ^

If the NFL can be a non-profit, it can't be too hard for any other entity to claim to be one.  When all of the money is disbursed, there is nothing left to be taxed.  The money that is disbursed may be taxed for income by another entity.  

Or it may be used to buy ponies.

Wolfman

April 21st, 2016 at 10:29 PM ^

by an entity, perfectly content to confining its message to those who were like-minded and felt no need to influence societal changes, set standards, have and exercise control; in short, "Hey man, we're getting a hell of a deal. There is simply no need to jeopardize that status so we can repopulate those that figured it out and have moved on."

And you say what? "They are, simply through an endorsement or publicly disagreeing with the beliefs of a candidate for public office, are now enjoying the tax free status and deciding who will govern those that think differently than they? Preposterous, I say. Wait, who are they backing?

Hugh Jass

April 21st, 2016 at 2:36 PM ^

football.  We started teaching the Seahawks Rugby style tackling.  We have found that our kids are suffering more shoulder injuries.  They are not "muscled" enough to get hold of kids consistently.  In many ways it is an arm tackle.  I love the concept of it but we had a few kids separate shoulders.  Talked to a couple of opposing coaches and they admitted having similar rresults.  It is not scientific research per se but it is a tough technique for little spindly legged freshman in high school.

I can see this Rugby technique working well with physically developed college players and obviously pros.

Space Coyote

April 21st, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

It's all about teaching and sticking with the technique long enough that players learn how to do it properly, regularly, at live speed. Any transition is going to have its cost. But players will learn how they need to tackle if they are being taught to rugby tackle, just like they'll learn to tackle if they are being taught how to properly tackle the traditional way. It comes down to the importance of spending time on how to tackle the right way, either way you teach it.

JFW

April 21st, 2016 at 3:50 PM ^

...but that sounds like the way I was taught to tackle back in middle school in '85. Break down, shoulderpad to thighpad, head up, wrap the arms. We were taught *NEVER* to lead with your head because you might injure your neck, and you risked a spearing penalty. 

 

Am I missing something? Just plain wrong? 

Space Coyote

April 21st, 2016 at 2:39 PM ^

Why is it even on the books? The AD has been giving money back to the university essentially for years, so why even have that there in the first place?

Also, it shouldn't, but it's a bit shocking and ridiculous that places like FSU are taking $7+M in subsidies. They bring in 120M per year. Wisconsin too, and they won't even pay their coaches like the rest of their peers.

grumbler

April 21st, 2016 at 3:30 PM ^

That's the salary and benefits for an AD employee (in academic compliance, IIRC) who is paid by the school, not the department, to avoid a potential conflict of interest (reporting on the guy/gal who pays you).

That's how i recall the explanation for this number I heard from someone fairly authoritative about two years ago.

ryebadger

April 25th, 2016 at 1:50 PM ^

Wisconsin gave back $5,000,000 to the university last year and is one of a handful of schools in the B1G that does not alloctae a penny of student activity fees to athletics. The AD is not only self sufficient but helps support the academic side of the university. Also Gov. Scott Walker cut $250 million from the university's budget last year. Although that sum was made up for by private donors within a month, it's safe to say the state taxpayers are not subsidizing the Wisconsin AD.

The direct or indirect allocation of funds could mean a lot of things. Knowing a bit about the type of expenditures the State of Wisconsin counts as "funding" to UW, I can all but guarantee you this subsidy number is misleading at best, if not bullshit.

Not buying the coaching salaries argument, either. UW has a culture and a system that has worked well. They'll pay when they have to but don't chase the $ coaches get in the SEC and wouldn't throw over $4 million per year at Brady Hoke when he would have happily taken the job for $2 million. If you are able to keep Bo Ryan around until he retires and pay him $300k less than Beilein while beating him 15 out of 17 times, I'm not sure salaries at Wisconsin are an issue.

donjohn64

April 21st, 2016 at 2:47 PM ^

"...because they might have to play players."

 

Sometimes a typo is just a typo. Sometimes it creates opportunity for me to make lots of snarky comments.

This would be the latter.

Blue In NC

April 21st, 2016 at 2:49 PM ^

Cardale Jones:

"Strong arm. Big, big body. Not the brightest cookie in the world. I worry about him when he gets money in his pocket. I just don't know if it's all there mentally."

Silly, Anonymous NFL Scout, Jones went to OSU.  He's been getting paid for years now.

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Yinka Double Dare

April 21st, 2016 at 3:16 PM ^

The "going out" junk with Cook is stupid (college student goes out! oh no!), but it is a little weird to be a senior, 3rd year starting quarterback and not be a captain. That's going to make teams wonder a fair bit. 

MBandMarch

April 21st, 2016 at 4:43 PM ^

My grandfather played tackle in the 1920 Grey Cup. No face mask, no chin strap. When he showed me the "proper" way to tackle circa 1970, it was with SHOULDERS! around THIGHS!

Perhaps we should return to leather helmets, too. I'm only half joking.

dave989

April 21st, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

In 2011, the University of Michigan athletic department employed 253 people, according to state records. Four years later, in 2015, it was 334, up 32 percent.

During that period, the average salary grew 22.4 percent, to $89,851. Over a seven-year span, the number of athletic department employees making six figures went from 30 to 81. …

Michigan didn't add 32 percent more sports in those four years, or 32 percent more scholarship athletes, requiring 32 percent more staffing.

I thought Hackett would get rid of the waste hired by Brandon, but it looks like it didn't happen. 

Mpfnfu Ford

April 21st, 2016 at 11:49 PM ^

This was the least surprising story ever. DG is a complete and total imbecile who got his job through networking with the right people. Hiring Jim Mora saved his job, and that hire was basically made by their old coach Terry Donahue. He's legendarily stupid and if you listen to the right people, a wino.

It's possible that satelite camps got banned because the SEC and ACC threatened to never schedule the Sun Belt again and because Dan Guerrero showed up drunk

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