Unverified Voracity Is Mostly Stupid

Submitted by Brian on March 16th, 2011 at 1:34 PM


no reason at all. also not stupid.

Stupid random statistic. ESPN put together an Outside the Lines piece on whether college athletes should be paid—for some reason the appointment of Mark Emmert to the top job has spurred even more chatter on this topic than there is usually—that revolves around one stupid statistic. The NCAA says this:

That number (14) comes from the NCAA's most recent analysis of athletic department finances at member institutions, based on data supplied by schools for the 2008-09 school year. The NCAA notes that 25 schools in each of the prior two years generated more revenue than expenses, before the nation's economic recession took hold.

ESPN says this:

But the NCAA understates the amount of revenue that flows into athletic departments.

Why do they say this?

The organization arrives at its lower number of 14 schools in the black by not counting what it calls "allocated revenue," which it considers direct and indirect support provided by the university, student fees and direct government support.

Because the NCAA does not count subsidies that keep money-losing programs afloat. This is not exactly "whoops, the Pirates are wildly profitable." The Bylaw Blog's pithy summation: "ESPN shows athletic departments that are making money. NCAA shows university that are making money on athletics."

Why anyone would care about the former is unclear, but ESPN charges off with their revised number of schools breaking even once you count funding grudgingly handed over to make sure they break even. Surprise: it's fairly large.

Stupid Fab Five reacts. They are legion, from complaints that a documentary called Fab Five was almost entirely about the Fab Five to Duke players writing New York Times op-eds that haven't even been published yet [UPDATE: now published.] but seem to confirm everything that was said about them* merely by their existence. Also Whitlock wrote something that no doubt accused people of "bojangling."

There was even a stupid Fab Five pre-act by Ramzy at 11 Warriors, who went out of his way to point out they didn't actually win anything, as if that wasn't possibly the main selling point or something anyone needed to be reminded of. The most compelling part of the entire thing was watching Webber walk down the tunnel after the timeout, then explain to the brutally persistent media that losing the national championship game for a second consecutive year felt "the same… exactly the same." Braves and Birds compares them to teams like Holland's Clockwork Orange two-time-runners up, and that's right—in soccer there's a rich tradition of teams that couldn't quite grasp the brass ring but are remembered for their style, and so the Fab Five.

However, nothing tops this, possibly dating back to cuneiform:

The same folks who are clamoring for a public mea culpa from Webber are the same people who wrote racist letters, calling Webber and teammates the "N" word.

That's the News's Vincent Goodwill successful trolling his way onto the "most read" list. Congratulations, Mr. Goodwill. Unless you actually believe that, in which case I am deeply sorry someone else has to dress you every morning.

Most of the letter-writers are dead now since they were already watching Matlock 20 years ago, but you don't have to be in the KKK to think Webber's actions badly hurt the program. Exploited or not, all Webber had to do was suck it up a little while before he was insanely rich. He didn't and even super-conflicted me would like an explanation, at least, if not an apology.

*[And in any case, when Rose was discussing Grant Hill he was obviously talking about a feeling he'd had in the past. Seventeen-year-old Rose didn't think "I don't like Grant Hill because his athlete father is in his life." He thought "I hate this bitch." Rose's explanation is necessarily him figuring out why he was so pissed off at Hill.

Also, Christian Laettner was relatively sanguine about everything, so there's that.]

Stupid apology. Tressel says "I'm sorry," then starts repeating things he heard from his robot-in-a-suit:

I apologize for the fact I wasn’t able to find the ones to partner with to handle our difficult and complex situation.

I agree. Ohio State should have synergized its core competencies and then attacked the Asian market. Or they could have difficultly and complexly asked the players involved if they had exchanged memorabilia for goods and services. However, this would have involved talking to them in some sort of office setting and was clearly impossible. The Asian market is where it's at.

Stupid bracket react. It never fails: whenever a major conference team is left out of the field of 60-something, people complain. This year there were actual complaints that small conference teams were somehow gaming the system. Joe Sheehan blows this up:

Maybe the biggest problem in college basketball is that teams in the mid-tier conferences can't get games against the ones in the top six, and they absolutely can't get home games. Mid-majors have been screaming at the top of their lungs for years about wanting to play up, and the better those teams have gotten, the less access to games they've been able to get. Teams in the BCS leagues refuse, out-and-out refuse to play road games at teams in the #7-#18 conferences.

In fact, the RPI gimmickry cited by Phelps and Davis is actually the purview of the power leagues, who have taken to playing road games against bottom-100 teams in an effort to gain "road win" points in the new version of the RPI. (They understand that there's a concept in play, but don't quite grok the details.) The ACC played as many road games at Elon (2) and UNC-Greensboro (4) as they did against mid-major schools in the top 200 (6), and one of the latter games was in an exempt event hosted by one. Miami played at Florida Gulf Coast. Florida State played at FIU. Wake played at UNC Wilmington. You think Conference USA is trying to game the system? Really?

I'm actually happy with the way this year's play-in games fell out: both feature a major-conference team against a mid-major. If you look at the two at-large play-ins as the committee throwing its hands up and saying "I don't know, play for it" this makes perfect sense. We don't have much information about how the good teams in small leagues compare with meh teams in big leagues so you can just have 'em settle it on the court. I'm sure that's just a coincidence but I wouldn't mind that being a yearly occurrence.

Another '95. Michigan has picked up another 2013 hockey commit. Evan Allen is also playing for Honeybaked and is their leading scorer with one point more than fellow commit Tyler Motte. There's not much out there other than a couple of Select 14/15 reports from USHR and the usual hyperventilating from sketchy pay sites, but Yost Built rounds it up all the same. Allen, like Motte and JT Compher, is competing for a spot on the NTDP right now.

Michigan now has something like five or six forwards in the 2013 class already (depending on whether Max Shuart is 2012 or 2013), all of them from the midget circuit centered around Michigan that is a heavy feeder to the NTDP and USHL, four of them Honeybaked teammates. They'll be replacing kids who are currently sophomores, of which there are six (Brown, Lynch, Treais, Sparks, Moffie and Rohrkemper). Unfortunately, one  is a defenseman and two are probably not on scholarship.

They must be anticipating some of these kids ending up in major junior or having to fill holes when players leave early/don't show up at all. That's veering close to Wisconsin/SEC territory, but 1) having to take an extra year of junior is just something that happens in hockey and 2) Michigan cannot sign any of these players to LOIs they can't fulfill—remember when Brandon Burlon couldn't sign until Kevin Quick got booted?—so anyone who is discontent with that arrangement can just go elsewhere.

Chances are the winnowing will be on the players', not the program's, end.

Dense bones. Jon Horford's been conspicuously absent of late without anyone really knowing why. Injury was suspected and is the case, but this bit from Rothstein's latest notes column makes the ears perk up:

Beilein spent 30 minutes with him Monday to help develop him further for next year. The Grand Ledge native, Beilein said, is already much stronger than when he started and is up to 242 pounds — the same weight as starting forward Jordan Morgan.

“There’s not any extra fat in there,” Beilein said. “Really, his body is developing.”

Really? Horford weighs as much as Morgan now? This is stunning.

He's healthy, BTW, and we could see him in the tourney.

Etc.: Destroy One Shining Moment, also Jim Nantz. Lloyd Carr marginalia. Vote for the documentary to come after Willis Ward. Eight seeds… not so good for advancement purposes.



March 16th, 2011 at 1:58 PM ^

Ohio State should have synergized its core competencies and then attacked the Asian market. Or they could have difficultly and complexly asked the players involved if they had exchanged memorabilia for goods and services. However, this would have involved talking to them in some sort of office setting and was clearly impossible. The Asian market is where it's at.

That is excellent writing. The sarcasm actually came through my computer screen and hit me thin the face.

Bravo sir.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

Does anyone else think that the way people are coming out of the woodworks to talk about them (ignoring the fact that the documentary, you know, just premiered) is a testament to their legacy?

Just think - they created the persona of the villain, of the team no one wanted to play or to hear about, and were popular even though they were never champions. And here we are, about 18 years later, and there are still people that villify them and criticize everything they do or say. I mean, best villains, or BEST villains?


March 16th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

Yes, that was one of the points that, I thought, they effectively made in the last 15 minutes of the documentary.

I assume that most of the people criticizing the Fab Five or the documentary didn't watch the documentary, or if they did, they weren't paying attention to the end as they were too upset because these kids were wearing black socks and baggy shorts and OMG LISTENING TO NWA.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:05 PM ^

To effectively prove his point, Grant Hill would have to challenge Jalen Rose to a freestyle rap battle.

NYTimes op-ed. The irony is paralyzing.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

I thought Hill's piece held together well until about half-way through, when it turned into a promotion for Duke Univeristy and a lot of platitudes and fluff about eduction being valuable - true but besides the point. He could have made his point without seeming so sanctimonious.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:07 PM ^

I couldn't help but draw similiarities between the hatred of certain Alums for the Fab 5 and the feelings Alums seemed to have for RR's recruits from the poorer parts of Florida and other places.  Seems like we heard a lot about how these were not "traditional" UM recruits and that compounded the fact that we weren't playing "traditional" UM football.

Am I way off base here?


March 16th, 2011 at 3:15 PM ^

No, I think you are right.  While there are some athletes that should not be recruited because of actual behavior issues, criminal backgrounds, etc. (and I do not exactly know how to evaluate a juvenile record for that purpose), I do think that there is a big group of alums who are still wary of people that are "different."


March 16th, 2011 at 4:03 PM ^

you have not elaborated, so i will insert my guess as to what you are talking about.  was it when Jimmy declared that he was the best player never to have made it in the NBA?  perhaps a little bombastic, but he was very good and was CBA MVP on year, just never go in the right situation professionally.

not really worthy of your scorn.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

It seems impossible to radically change anything, but I love the idea to seed only the top 6 teams and then have a blind draw like tennis. 

The fairest idea would be to reseed, but logistics and gambling make that impossible.  I like how it creates the 2 bubbles that he mentions in the article.  The drama for the selection show would be triple what it is now.

It's an interesting problem and 1 that I think deserves some looking into.  It's silly for us to hope not to get the highest seed possible.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

every announcer kept repeating that horford was a "string bean" and had "spagetti arms" during the early season.  once he got on camus i'll be you he was already significantly heavier than he was when he graduated high school.  he never looked all that lanky to me, he just looks really young in the face.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:47 PM ^

It is a little surprising to me that Horford would be the same weight as Morgan, but I think he is like 3 or 4 inches taller. That's one of the reasons I am excited for Horford to mature because I think he can be a better rebounder and shot blocker than Morgan.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

I have seen Horford listed at 6'9" or 6"10.  I read a comment from Belien specifically saying Morgan's height is exagerrated. I think Morgan is more like 6'6" and Horford is a legit 6'9" or 6'10". Its not like I have measured them myself though.


March 16th, 2011 at 6:28 PM ^

You are either making this up or the person who told you that is lying, because there's no way Morgan is 6'6".  Hardaway is 6'5", and I'm sure Morgan has more than an inch on him. 

However, I'm not sure I believe Horford weighs as much as Morgan just yet, unless it's been a lot of weight very recently.  That last time I remember seeing Horford on the floor, he was much skinnier than Jordan. 

All that said, I hope both of them are 250+ next fall, and that Horford is the 6'10" you say he is.  That would bode well for us down low for the future. 


March 16th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

1.  Regarding paying college athletes - The issue isn't whether college athletes should get compensation.  They already receive compensation in the form of scholarships.  The bigger question is whether is it appropriate or ethical to allow an NCAA monopoly to set arbitrary rules regarding their compensation and non-basketball conduct.

2.  Regarding the statement (repeatedly made by others and noted by Brian) that the Fab Five "didn't really win anthing"  - Excuse me??? So... unless a team wins a championship, they don't "really win anything."  Seriously???

3. Regarding Webber - I'm "super-conflicted" on him as well.  He is a complicated person with both extremely positive character traits and serious character flaws.  Stupidity and greed overwhelmed concern for his teammates.  But he also has been extremely charitable with his time and  money - even starting a self-deprecatory "Time Out" foundation.  He put his heart and soul into basketball and was a great player - he barely missed out on an NCAA championship and was robbed of an NBA title (see Brian's link to "legendarily boned").  But he could have been even better.  For the sake of others, he should apologize for taking money from Martin but he's understandably miffed at an arguably corrupt system which enriches others while exploiting the talents of some supremely gifted and hard working young athletes.  


March 16th, 2011 at 3:04 PM ^

What people seemed to forget about College athletics is that there are ways for athletes to get paid, if they want - they can turn pro. If you want to get a paycheck, don't stay in school, go get a job, i.e. turn pro so that you can get paid. College is not the place to get paid for that.

But, you say, what about football where they can't turn pro until Junior year?

I say, so what? That just means that it is not worthwhile for the NFL owners to create a minor league system. The minor league system does not generate enough revenue or benefit for the NFL teams to make it worthwhile for the owners to create a minor league system. That means that the service that college football players are providing is virtually worthless, which means it is not worth paying for.

Just because colleges make money from sport does not mean that they have to pay the players. That would only make sense if players at alternatives and that alternative was to colleges' detriment. That does not apply in any collegiate sport.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:28 PM ^

Every person who has a tremendous mental skill has to pay their dues while getting mentorship. A doctor, such as myself, got paid a small amount of what I billed during residency so I could get further training even though technically I was already licensed and could go practice medicine anywhere in the country.  A brilliant lawyer gets paid poorly his first couple years in practice until he becomes a partner. An investment banker has to work his way up the ladder.

A college athlete is no different. They get paid in the form of scholarships, education and learning how to better play their sport. It doesn't matter how much the University makes off of them. It is the same in every profession in the world. You don't make a lot in the beginning. Its not exploitation, its an intership.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:51 PM ^

Well then if thats the case then a solution to this problem is to have athletes who are not obligated to a certain academic mark. If their scholarship is their compensation for their athletic ability then it stands to reason that their academics should not matter.


If we removed the academics from the equation and essentially gave them a full scholarship to just play and train for a sport, they then could get a job without being to overloaded.


If the scholarship is for academics and athletics then I would argue they are under compensated. We could increase compensation by allowing larger stipends to be included in the scholarship, say like 500-1000 a month.



March 16th, 2011 at 5:27 PM ^

How are they undercompensated.

The free-market requires two things to set the price: Supply and Demand. Supply is a known quantity, demand is not.

As I have stated above, if featuring these kids (without college affiliation) is profitable, then there would already be a pro-league for these kids. The fact that there is no minor league and any pro-league ready to hire and feature these kids says that even paying them small sum in salary is not a profitable venture.

The college sport is popular because of the schools that stand behind it, not because of the athletes. The athletes are readily replaceable. They are already getting well paid (scholarship) for what they are providing.


March 16th, 2011 at 6:26 PM ^

A free-market also requires freedom from distorting anti-trust issues. The NBA mandates a minimum age (or is it one year out of HS?) and the NFL has a 3 year post HS rule or something, which requires the players to spend time elsewhere, regardless of if they are ready for the pros sooner.

It's not that there is no demand, it's that the best leagues for their skills have rules locking them into the current system. Unlike, say, baseball, which has extensive minor leagues.


March 16th, 2011 at 7:33 PM ^

So, what you are saying is that NCAA should be paying kids for limitations that NBA or NFL mandates??? What NBA and NFL does should not be the concern of NCAA. NBA and NFL are doing that for their own good (i.e. they don't want to pay kids younger than that), not because of some benefit to NCAA.

If athletes want to sue NBA or NFL for those limitations, they are free to file anti-trust lawsuits. It is probably not going to get very far, but they can try. But NCAA would not be party to any lawsuits of that kind (they can leave NCAA any time they want, there is no rule against that).

Baseball was able to develop a self-sustaining minor league system. If it was profitable, the other leagues would follow suit. There are still kids playing collegiate baseball even though pro-route is available. So there are plenty who believe scholarships are more than equivalent compensation.

Again, if kids believe they can make money outside of NCAA system, they are free to try. Minor leagues are not very popular and they don't make much money. The reason why NCAA rakes billions is not because of the athletes. It is because of the schools that bring alumni and history to the table. Athletes are readily replaceable and not worth that much to the schools.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:31 PM ^

It was apparent to me that when Rose made his comments about Grant Hill it came from a place (and at a time in 1992 when he was 19) of anger and jealousy. 

I am shocked that Grant Hill couldn't, and doesn"t, see it for what it was.

To defend his family, his lineage, and his black teamates success completely misses the point.

Grant's father was a dad.  Jalen's wasn't.  Grant's family was wealthy (and to a degree because his father was involved), and Jalen's family was poor (and to a primary degree because his Dad was gone).  I would assume there is a lot of pain that goes along with realizing the unfairness in his life compared to someone else.  To have that contrast available to inspire, ignite and fuel a rivalry can intensify those feelings.

It is funny how it seems most people (media included) are running to support and defend Grant Hill (and the Duke players) and blaming Rose (and the Fab 5) for their naive and reverse-racist "views".  Sad really - lashing out at what they think they heard and not analyzing what the message really means.


March 16th, 2011 at 3:33 PM ^

it may have been justified, but i don't think it was all that great.  jalen's point was that duke didn't recruit inner city black kids to play basketball, and hill responded by pointing to a number of examples of black duke players, none of whom are inner city black kids.  his best point was that kids shouldn't be punished for the background of their parents.  that's true.  but he's kidding himself, IMO, if he was trying to prove jalen wrong.

MI Expat NY

March 16th, 2011 at 3:47 PM ^


Yes, Jalen was wrong to ever think that black players at Duke were Uncle Toms, but 18-19 year old kids don't necessarily see the big picture in life.  In hindsight, I bet Jalen wishes he didn't repeat the term, even if he was clearly referencing his thoughts from 20 years ago, and instead focusded on Coach K and who he chose to recruit.  

Grant Hill's rehashing of what black players have accomplished at Duke doesn't do anything to counter Jalen's basic argument:  Duke only went after black players from "polished" families and specifically did not recruit inner city kids that may have had a rougher time growing up.  Hill's examples simplly show what most would consider obvious, kids from pretty decent backgrounds who attended duke were generally able to be succesful as adults.  Wow, that's just earth shattering.  


MI Expat NY

March 16th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

Furthermore, Grant Hill could have truly been eloquent and on topic in addressing WHY an 18 year old, inner city, black kid could feel that the son of a succesful black couple is an Uncle Tom.  That should have the focus instead of a small part of a story that turned into his family's history and his love for Duke.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:32 PM ^

John Beilein is obviously excited about Horford. This makes me excited. His brother is big, so it seems like he has the genes to fill out.

As for his current weight, tall guys like that can carry a ton of weight in their legs without it showing much at all.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:42 PM ^

What I found infuriating about that Vincent Goodwill column is that unless you know the history of the Ed Martin scandal you would come away from that column with the idea that Webber took only pocket change from Martin, when in fact he took hundreds of thousands of dollars. Martin may have handed out pocket change to all kinds of athletes, but Webber, Bullock, Taylor, and Traylor took substantially more. And the amount they took makes a huge difference in how they should be judged in comparison to someone like Jalen Rose.

When I saw the headline of that column yesterday ("Michigan fans mistakenly indict all Fab Five players"), my immediate thought was that it had to be a column singling out Webber as the only one who Michigan fans should be indicting. Instead, it's a pro-Webber column with a misleading headline.


March 16th, 2011 at 2:45 PM ^

Have to disagree with Brian on the statment  "Most of the letter-writers are dead now since they were already watching Matlock 20 years ago, but you don't have to be in the KKK to think Webber's actions badly hurt the program. " Doesn't matter if the letter-writers are dead now....point is those letters were written and sent. It's kind of swept under the rug to some extent and pay no mind to those people. Truth is truth....those letters were ugly and the U of M family should be ashamed that occured. Those letters were being sent to some 18-19 year old kids that are coming into their own and this is how they are treated by some if the esteemed U of M alum??... And keep in mind...those were sent before the Chris Webber, Louis Bullock and Traylor allegations. No matter how you spin it ...it was wrong and as much as the Michigan fan base prides themselves on being the leaders and the best...some of our alum sure weren't during that time......


March 16th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

He isn't sweeping those letters under the rug.  He is rebuting the fact that those are the only people that are demanding an apology from Webber.  He is saying there are a wide variety (himself included) that feel an apology is appropriate. 

Feel free to reread and apoligize (haha) to Brian. 


March 16th, 2011 at 3:11 PM ^

To put it another way, the regrettable and shameful fact that people wrote hateful, racist letters to and about the Fab Five has no bearing on whether Webber's actions were right or wrong and whether he ought to aplogize for them.

Virtutally everything in Goodwill's piece was similarly irrelevant. When I saw it last night, I would have bet anything that Brian was going to fisk it.