Unverified Voracity Returns To Explain Monkey Thing Comment Count

Brian July 26th, 2018 at 12:23 PM

Freaks. Bruce Feldman's annual list of people who should not be that size and be able to dance like that leads off with Rashan Gary. These lists always have combine porn:

The 6-foot-5 Gary is at the same weight he was at this time last year — 287 pounds — and his 40-yard dash time is the same at 4.57 seconds. His 3-cone drill at 6.79 was a touch behind last year’s 6.70, although his time this year still would beat every defensive lineman at this year’s NFL scouting combine. His 4.22 pro agility shuttle time also would top every D-lineman at the combine. Next best was 4.32. Another really impressive feat: his 10-4 broad jump, which was 8 inches better than what he did a year ago.

Incoming freshman Julius Welschof is #37 because he's very flippy. Three different Badgers (Olive Sagapolu, Jonathan Taylor, and D'Cota Dixon) make the list as well. If Hornibrook stops throwing so many picks, could be a breakthrough for the Badgers.

(Probably) nothing to see here. The Big Ten Network is up for renewal on the Comcast, and as is standard practice there is now a dual-sided PR campaign going on. BTN's like "dang!" and Fox is like "I mean cumong," and that's what's going on right now in these streets. Wetzel:

...cable giant Comcast is threatening to pull the Big Ten Network (as well as FS1, which shows league games) off basic cable packages. It already did outside the league footprint on second-tier packages. Now it is saying BTN will no longer be on basic cable in communities in the league area as of September 1.

Hence, Silverman’s alarm.

“BTN is now facing our biggest challenge since the launch of the network,” Silverman said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “Our 10-year agreement with Comcast expires at the end of August. A few months ago, BTN was removed from out-of-market cable systems on Comcast, which is the leading cable provider in the country. … It’s extremely concerning.”

This strikes me as much ado about nothing. While Wetzel points out that cable's monopoly is mercifully crumbling and there's pressure to keep bills down, I have a hard time believing Comcast is going to send a significant section of its Big Ten footprint subscribers into a contemplation of cord-cutting. A deal will be reached at the last minute, both sides will claim victory, and the slow bleed of cable subscribers to over the top services will not get a sudden kick in the pants.

[After the JUMP: employees, monkeys... really too long spent talking about monkeys]

There's no money. Also as a part of that article, a stunning stat about the AD:

Michigan, for example, employed 253 people in its athletic department at an average salary of $73,382.64 in 2010-2011, per state records. Just seven years later, in 2017-18, there are 368 employees (up 31.3 percent) at an average salary of $99,310.58 (up 26.1 percent).

Simply by maintaining 2011 levels of staffing—sure you can have that raise, AD employees—Michigan would have 11.4 million dollars left over annually, or 116,000 dollars per scholarship revenue sport athlete. They'd have 12k per athlete, period, including walk-ons.

Nose guardin'. Via user "It's Always Marcia," Donovan Jeter's local paper breaks a little news:

Donovan Jeter would have had a hard imagining himself playing defensive tackle back when he was in high school. And if he did, the thought likely would have irritated him.

But now, the former Beaver Falls defensive end is set to play inside at nose guard for Michigan in the upcoming season. With fall camp starting in August and the season soon after in September, Jeter is thrilled about his new position.

“I like it a lot more than end and three-tech. I just feel like I can really use my strength in there,” Jeter, a redshirt freshman, said.

“I remember in high school I used to hate double teams. I just hated the thought of going inside. But now I’m 310, 315 pounds and that’s what I’ve got to do.”

Michigan has Aubrey Solomon for the next two or three years but loses Bryan Mone after the season so there's an opportunity for Jeter to be starter #2 at a spot that needs more depth than any other as early as next year.

A true thing stated clearly. Nothing much happened at media day except a sentient bottle of AXE asking the world's smuggest question, but Tyree Kinnel did talk about the dreaded slot fade:

“We gave up a lot of yards in the slot, we weren’t much help in the post last year,” Kinnel said. “Those are two things that were emphasized in the spring and two things that were really, really improved in spring ball.

“... Everyone knows it’s not an easy job to guard, especially if the pressure doesn’t get there and the quarterback’s waiting all day, that’s an advantage to the receiver. So that safety has to cover a lot of ground and help all the guys that are covering, and he has to be there to make plays, and there wasn’t enough of that last year. That was definitely (on) me and Josh, we got the majority of the snaps last year, and we didn’t make enough plays out of the post, and you’re going to see more of that this year.”

Brad Hawkins has apparently bounced back to safety, at least for now. Glasgow and Hawkins are destined to swap back and forth until millions of years in the future when they collide and form one elliptical galaxy.

Fluck, and other near-swears. David Hale revisits a frequent topic around these parts: can you actually coach turnovers?

In the past five years, the difference between a team in the top one-third nationally in takeaways and a team in the bottom third is only about one takeaway for every two games played. Over the past decade, 80 FBS programs fall somewhere between a plus-30 and minus-30 turnover margin, a difference of roughly one turnover or takeaway for every four games played. Only 12 programs have finished with at least 25 takeaways six or more times in the past decade, and it's hardly a who's who of college football, with Utah, Louisiana Tech and Northwestern in the club.

The math suggests things like pressure and sack rates have surprisingly little correlation to takeaways, while less intuitive metrics like yards per rush are a better predictor. Even the notion that turnovers dictate the outcome of a game offers something of a chicken-or-egg conundrum. Every FBS team has a positive turnover margin when already ahead on the scoreboard over the past decade, and only about a third of turnovers are committed by the team that's ahead, with only about 14 percent from teams ahead by a touchdown or more. So are turnovers the key to winning or simply a byproduct of it?

It may be the case that you can coach ball security and turnover acquisition but that everyone does so at approximately the same efficiency level so the net is the extreme year-to-year randomness we see. (Unless you're a blogger trying to argue that Rich Rodriguez's system is not inherently-turnover prone by pointing to years of friendly data at West Virginia. In that case the result will not be random at all; it will be tuned to make you look like a giant doof.)

Even the man cited as the exception to the rule, new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt, could be a stock-picking monkey.

Here is a new b—uh what

Bolded alter-ego! You're not supposed to be in this post or italicized!

bold has a different convention in this style of post

True enough. Why are you here?

You just called Jeremy Pruitt a monkey and moved on

Right. Envision 128 monkeys tasked with throwing several darts at a wall of stock names. After a year, monkeys that outperform the average are given a banana and kept around to throw more darts at the wall. Monkeys that don't are sent to... the monkey factory. Wherever. I don't know where monkeys usually work. Bed Bath and Beyond?

Anyway, five years into this experiment you have a set of four monkeys who've outperformed for five straight years. They have ties now. They appear on CNBC to proclaim their monkey wisdom from the heavens. They write books titled THE NEW MONKEY STANDARD: RANDY THE MONKEY AND VARIOUS STOCKS' RISE TO GLORY. They have done nothing but get lucky.

Eh... could be the Pruitt thing. Could be just being at Alabama, which is probably good at turnovers because it's good at defense in general. Hale:

Alabama also has faced the third-highest rate of pass plays over that span, and teams are about three times more likely to turn the ball over on a pass play than a run. And Alabama's defense has faced more third-and-long plays than any other FBS team in that stretch. Turnovers occur at a far higher rate on third-and-long than any other down and distance.

Those trends hold true at each of Pruitt's stops, which certainly is a credit to his defenses, though not necessarily attributable to strip drills, defensive backs with great hands or repeated team mantras about the importance of takeaways.

I tend to think turnovers are 1) very random and 2) more a consequence of being bad or good than a driver of it.

Hughes hope! Vancouver has seven defensemen under contract and might not be able to move any of them, per Jason Botchford:

There just hasn’t been a ballooning market for Vancouver’s veterans, which includes a group of seven NHL defencemen who are in the team’s control.

If you think rookie Quinn Hughes has a chance to be on this team, he has to sign first. It’s believed there is some pressure on the Canucks to clear him out a path and trim the logjam on defence.

The problem for the Canucks is they're all terrible and no one wants them at their cap hit. TBH, I'm not sure why Vancouver would even want to sign Hughes this year. They're going to be bad again, Hughes can only depress their draft pick, and the way the NHL free agency works should encourage teams to stash kids for a couple years. You become a UFA when you're 27 or have been in the league for 7 years, so signing Hughes is trading his age 19 season for his age 26 season. I have no idea why you'd do that, but so many teams feel under immediate pressure.

It does seem likely that if Vancouver does not clear a spot for him that he will be back in AA:

While Hughes acknowledged that both situations have pros and cons — college doesn’t pay and isn’t the same level of competition, but would be closer to his family, possibly more fun and offer a more personalized year of development than the AHL — he did note that there’s no con to playing in the NHL.

According to Benning, Vancouver feels the same, and is conducting meetings within the franchise and with Hughes’ agent, Pat Brisson, to find out just how long that would take.

“If we think he’s ready to play in the NHL and can feel comfortable, then we’ll try to get him signed,” Benning said. “And if we think he’s not quite ready for the NHL and we’re just going to sign him and send him to the AHL, then that’s where we’ll talk about whether he’s better off playing another year at the University of Michigan.”

You'd think that's the move for Vancouver but bad franchises are usually bad because they make bad decisions. Hi, Red Wings fans. Sorry about your unfireable dunce GM.

Etc.: Former UCF kicker suing the NCAA, but chances of success seem dubious.


L'Carpetron Do…

July 26th, 2018 at 12:51 PM ^

I've said it before and I'll say it again: There's too much money in college sports and there's got to be ways we can pay the players. An average of $99K+? That's a lot of dough. I'm glad there are good-paying jobs like these for people in the area but I think there's reason to believe that we can find some money to pay football and basketball players an in-season monthly stipend or at least mileage or something.


July 26th, 2018 at 1:09 PM ^

I guess the question is, do people like Harbaugh and Beilein factor into this average? Harbaugh's salary of $7 million factored over 368 positions means he alone accounts for $19k of that average.

If coaches count, then taking a look at the next highest earning coaches in the department, Brown, Drevno, and Hamilton combined for $3.6 million, and Beilein is at $2.84 million. Add those 5 in with Harbaugh and we're already at $13.44 million; averaged over 368 positions and we're at $36k.

368 positions at $100k each is $36.8 million in compensation, so the other 362 positions in the AD would average (36.8m - 13.44m)/362 = $64k a year. That's not nearly as bad as this looks. The real question is, what is the reason for the increase of 115 people in 7 years?

Rufus X

July 26th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

Excactly. +1 imaginary points for you.

It won't go over well with the socialist set on this blog, but these are simple facts. You like good coaches and high standards of academic integrity?  You pay for it. And no one EVER said that "There's no money" in the athletic departments. At least no one with any common sense. Yes, the money is abundant. That doesn't mean paying the players is as easy as writing them a check, with out completely destroying the sport(s) we love and violating Title IX.  



July 28th, 2018 at 9:54 AM ^

The current market for college athletes is not fully capitalistic as the supply side of its most important input operates in a highly regulated environment.

It's more kleptocratic than anything.

But nice try at putting tea bagger spin on it (try taking a couple intro economics courses btw).


July 26th, 2018 at 2:01 PM ^

The general administrative bloat that is happening at colleges as a whole would be my guess.  In Michigan's specific case, Dave Brandon expanding the bureaucracy just meant those roles froze in place rather than being reviewed as to whether they, y'know, serve a purpose.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you pay one athlete and you have to pay them all, so that 100K goes down to 12K, feels like there's a way to do it through the COLA stipends the NCAA proposed.  The Olympic model feels like a better solve.


July 26th, 2018 at 6:40 PM ^

Administrative bloat occurs because when your revenue surges (Michigan's athletic budget has virtually doubled over the last decade), the money has to go somewhere, and you can only pay coaches so much before the general public revolts. I've long said there's a good reason administrators (along with coaches) are so vehemently against paying players. It's because no one else has benefited more.

As far as the paying athletes arguments goes, it isn't completely clear that all athletes would have to be paid equally or even paid at all. Title IX guarantees equal opportunities, it isn't clear that also would translate into equal revenue sharing. Granted, we'll never find out because schools have no incentive to find out.


July 26th, 2018 at 9:36 PM ^

Administrative bloat occurs because people keep coming with idea for new departments and positions and nothing ever gets peeled back in a restructuring because that's not how decision making is done in an academic environment.  Don't get it twisted and think that particular set of circumstances is only in the purview of athletic departments.  I'm merely saying that there's more to this than money has to go somewhere, administrators get VERY good at justifying their existence and when you don't have cost pressures there's no real incentive for reform.

The second half of your statement is a very fancy way of saying absolutely nothing.  Of course it isn't clear that Title IX would dictate that money get paid out equally among ALL athletes and not just revenue ones.  Do you really think that would last for a second before people lined up with their hands out?  You can make a fancy legal argument all you want, but whats going to happen is a long line of photogenic and sympathetic cases are going to line up with their hands out, too and no-one is going to want to deal with the fallout of saying payments for them, but not you.

Mr Miggle

July 27th, 2018 at 7:51 AM ^

It's not just administrative bloat. 

Men's and women's lacrosse were both added since 2011.

How many positions has Harbaugh added to his support staff? I don't know how many RR had, but I'll guess there's no comparison. A commitment was made to keeping up with Alabama and the resources they give Saban. How much has that spread to other sports?

Coaching salaries have gone up crazy amounts, particularly for football assistants


July 28th, 2018 at 10:01 AM ^

It's not just in the education system, either. The CEO of a company I worked at fifteen-ish years ago made about $1M/year. The guy who replaced him and brought the company to within a gnat's breath of BK via utterly bad operational and M&A management was paid $40M just to leave (on top of the $50M he was paid over four years as CEO).

Board stacking runs rampant in the US irrespective of institution type.


July 26th, 2018 at 10:56 PM ^

Another question is, people like me and the rest of the event team factor into it?  As a ticket taker, I previously got $25 per game and I'm paid via the university payroll system just like all other employees (they bumped it up to $30 this year so I guess I may have taken part in the salary increase :))


July 27th, 2018 at 8:40 AM ^

I'd like to know about the increase as well.  But I also think the argument people always make about paying players is that the money has to be spent on big-name coaches and staffs and all that.  Which is true.  But athletic departments have budgets and, like all big organizations I've ever worked at, are inclined to spend up to that amount.  It's just the way it is.  So if said organizations had to factor in paying student athletes some amount of money, then that would just be factored into how much they could pay other employees.  And since this requirement would be applied across all the schools, you'd likely see either a harder cap on coaches' salaries (unlikely) or a drop in the number/salary of the peripheral employees such as that ticket Czar Brandon hired called Narddog or whatever that was getting a quarter million a year to somehow convince less people to buy season tickets than in years past.


July 26th, 2018 at 1:47 PM ^

The problem with this take, and the irony of Brian talking about paying the players right after talking about cable and the impending bubble bursting), is that because it’s so much harder to cut back once you’ve implemented something like this, it doesn’t make any sense to start paying the players at least until after you know how the bubble bursting is going to affect revenue. It’s conceivable that revenue takes a big hit once everything falls apart (BTN’s revenue is built on the current cable structure), and while it might be true that there’s money that could be put to better use (like, many argue, paying the players) right now, that may not be the case in a few years. 

In addition to paying to hire solid coaches (I believe we should strive for excellence in all sports, and vehemently disagree with skimping on revenue sports in order to pay football and basketball players, as Brian has seemed to suggest on occasion), I feel like the best thing to do with the current excess revenue is to invest in solid facilities for all the sports, since the money for renovations/construction might not be available down the line. 

Rufus X

July 26th, 2018 at 2:03 PM ^

There is actually exactly the right amount of money in college sports. The market has decided what college athletics are worth, and the consumers (you and I) pay for it.  Title IX, another result of utopian meddling in the markets, is ironically the thing that present the biggest hurdle to paying players "what they are worth".  Welcome to capitalism.


July 26th, 2018 at 2:28 PM ^

I hate it when people say, "_____ is worth exactly $x because someone is willing to pay exactly $x for it." It's lazy thinking that doesn't attempt to value anything, and it assumes that everyone is acting rationally.

Example 1: would you have paid $90 for Enron stock in 2000??

Example n: any Dutch Tulip scenario 


July 26th, 2018 at 4:30 PM ^

I'm an economist, so >100% :)

You've already argued that the market is distorted (and I agree with that) so you can't argue that the amount of money present in this system is efficient or 'correct.' 

Here's yet another example: Charlie Weis was hired by Notre Dame and paid quite a bit of money. Was he 'worth' that money just b/c ND paid it? Of course not: they decided very quickly that he had negative value,  i.e. they would pay him more to NOT coach them.


July 27th, 2018 at 9:16 AM ^

A survey of Twitter and Reddit is, shockingly, not a fair sample from which one can conclude anything about economics.

Much like free speech arguments on the internet, lots of people paid attention for about 5 minutes in an econ class or read the first two paragrpahs on Supply-Demand on Investopedia and believe they understand how complex markets and economic systems work.  It isn't that simple, and assuming "the market pays the right price" has been shown consistently to be, at best, a misleading generalization of how actual goods and services should be valued.  Unless you honestly thought, say, Theranos had an actual valuation of $10B despite burning through $900MM.

College athletes could get paid $15k a year at Michigan and the world wouldn't fall apart.  Apply that to every P5 program and all that would happen would be coaches would take slight haircuts on their salaries or a couple of additional jobs in sales and operations would disappear.  Sure, someone would feel the pain, but if you asked me who deserves the money more - Denard Robinson or Dave Brandon - that's an easy argument.

Mr Miggle

July 27th, 2018 at 8:43 AM ^

So completely untrue.

The market for college athletics is largely illiquid. The market is changing but the big money is in very long term contracts, with very few competitors involved. Media and apparel companies on one side are driven by battles over long term market share and are sometimes using college athletics as a proxy, rather than to generate direct profit.  On the other side schools are not driven by profits in many of their decisions. At many institutions, the value of sports is almost entirely intangible. Only the costs are known. How else to explain construction projects that will never recoup their costs by anyone's projections. 

Both sides are causing valuations to become distorted to the point where almost everyone expects major corrections. Even in liquid markets prices can get out of whack and are influenced by outside factors.


Shop Smart Sho…

July 26th, 2018 at 1:00 PM ^

Is it just that I'm getting older, or do I need a primer to really odd Brianisms to figure out this shit out? It seems like, in an increasing number of posts, there is one sentence/joke that Brian makes that I just don't get.

This time it's this one, "...and the slow bleed of cable subscribers to over the top services will not get a sudden kick in the pants."

What the fuck is "over the top services" supposed to mean?


July 26th, 2018 at 1:03 PM ^

It may be the case that you can coach ball security and turnover acquisition but that everyone does so at approximately the same efficiency level so the net is the extreme year-to-year randomness we see.

I like this take.  A hypothetical team that doesn't focus on turnovers is going to re-write the record books on them.  But turnovers are every OC's nightmare so every damn team is going to have their players do push-ups or run laps for turning the ball over.  What's left after everyone puts in that requisite effort is randomness.


July 26th, 2018 at 1:07 PM ^

Living in Florida with Comcast is a major bummer. Although most of the football schedule is on major networks, we are pretty screwed for basketball. Switching services doesn’t really help because Comcast Internet is much better here than anything else and many communities have HOA contracts with Comcast. If I want BTN, I either need to pay Hulu $40/month or YouTubeTV. It really sucks... we have a large Big Ten contingent down here - even in my cul-de-sac alone we have OSU and Purdue fans. 


July 26th, 2018 at 1:29 PM ^

Finally! I’ve been waiting 4 long years for he ‘monkey rodeo’ tag to be used again. I wonder how long I’ll have to wait now for the next one. 


July 26th, 2018 at 1:46 PM ^

How about looking at when the TO occurs.  The earlier in the game the greater the weight.  The more behind the team, the less weight to the TO.  I'm thinking of how the Ty Isaac fumble turned the MSU game.


July 26th, 2018 at 1:58 PM ^

It really is all about how close the game is, as opposed to when the TO occurs. Thinking an early TO should be weighted higher probably conflates the fact that games are still typically close early on, and as you recognize, close game turnovers are more important than TOs in blowouts (or as you mention, TOs in games that aren’t close are typically meaningless). Actually, for a given score, late TOs are more important, since early TOs at least give more opportunity to catch up.

Rufus X

July 26th, 2018 at 1:55 PM ^

"There's no money" has never been an argument about paying players, at least by anyone with any credibility. But nice job crushing the straw man...


July 26th, 2018 at 2:06 PM ^

The rise in staffing and salaries statistics are even worse when  calculated correctly.

253 people in its athletic department at an average salary of $73,382.64 in 2010-2011, per state records. Just seven years later, in 2017-18, there are 368 employees (up 31.3 percent) at an average salary of $99,310.58 (up 26.1 percent).

368 - 253 /  Divided by the Original is 253  = 45.5% increase!

99300-73000  /  73300 = 27.4% 

Almost adding 50% more staff?  

Did they add any more sports?