Harbaugh goes to Washington. I would have enjoyed the look on his face if a senator asked him to stick to sports:
"Many of you are probably wondering why a football coach is speaking at an event like this. I may be a football coach, but I am an American first and foremost -- and all Americans should care about equal access to justice," Harbaugh said. "To me, it's not just about Michigan -- go blue -- it's about 'go red, white and blue.'
"The issue is about fairness, fundamental fairness. As I see it, if you have money, you have access to justice. If you don't have money, you have less access to justice. That's not the way it should work."
Harbaugh, who says he's always been a fan of lawyers -- from several of his personal friends to the famous "Judge Judy" -- said he became involved with LSC after attending a forum that showed him how many Americans are "left out" of the justice system due to their inability to afford proper legal representation.
Jim Harbaugh has to be the only guy on the planet who can say "I've always been a fan of lawyers" with seeming sincerity.
Bakich stays. Erik Bakich led Michigan to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years and got 11 Wolverines drafted this offseason, a program record. This got him an interview at South Carolina and a job offer from Stanford. He turned the latter down:
— Erik Bakich (@ErikBakich) June 15, 2017
I'm not a baseball guy but the impression I get is that this is somewhere between a surprise and a shock. Zach Shaw has a post at 24/7 with some details:
1) This can be considered a huge win for Michigan: As blunt as it sounds, I liken Michigan baseball to a BYU or Minnesota football. It has some history to it, but generally a fringe top-25 finish and semi-regular postseason play is probably the highest realistic expectation thanks to geography, scholarships and other factors. Anything above that should be seen as truly special.
In baseball, out-of-state recruiting is extremely tough at Michigan; thanks to the low scholarship limit (12.5 scholarships for a 33-man roster, per the NCAA) teams often use a half-scholarship option. But if a player from, for example, Georgia is offered a half-scholarship to Michigan (cost of attending would be about $23,000), it would much cheaper for him to walk-on at Georgia (about $12,000). ….
Factor in the fact that few elite players come from the state of Michigan, and the Wolverines are at a huge disadvantage. Somehow, Bakich bucked that trend, pulling in top-25 classes every year (depending on the site, of course, but even being in the ballpark is unprecedented territory) and consequently a top-25 team this past year. The team went from 22 wins pre-Bakich to 29, 32, 39, 36, 42 in his first five seasons.
Simply put, if you luck into a coach like that — let alone one that isn't even 40 years old — keeping him away from more established programs with more baseball success (and money) is an exception, not a rule.
The general reaction to the Kendall Rogers tweet asserting that Bakich turned down Stanford is "WTF?!" Suffice it to say that this is a weird one. But a good one. (Also Big Ten baseball should leave the NCAA and play through the summer with full rides for all, but I say that every time baseball comes up.)
Bombs away. Oh look, Don Brown:
These college teams blitzed more than any other in 2016. pic.twitter.com/MrrzU37kWY
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) June 13, 2017
The other teams on that list are desperately undermanned outfits blitzing out of desperation. Michigan is the only team that is actually good at D.
Prelude to an 18-team conference. The Big Ten is thinking about extending the conference schedule to 20 games. That barely dents the huge imbalanced schedule issues going to 14 imposed: you'd still play half the league once annually instead of twice. That might create enough room to protect rivalries like Indiana-Purdue and Michigan State-Common Human Decency, and therefore slightly juice TV revenues. There might be other reasons to do it but none that the front office gives a good goddang about.
The real solution is to add one game, not two, and play it Scottish Premiere League style:
Alternative: 19 game conference schedule.
PHASE 1: round robin.
PHASE 2: line is drawn between 7th and 8th teams in the league. Mini-leagues subsequently play round-robin. Rutgers is relegated to the Big East every year.
PROS: Absolutely fair. Winner is undisputed. Makes Big Ten title a huge important deal. Final six games for teams that make upper half would be knock-down drag out brutal free-for-all for league title. Would give top teams impregnable schedule strength. You could televise the schedule draw with Ronaldo and Messi in suits.
CONS: May cost league NCAA bids if the best team in the bottom half can't get any marquee wins in the last six games or the worst team in the top half just gets blitzed. Bottom half is just kind of sadly playing out the string. Uncertainty about final three home games may impact ticket sales negatively. Extremely distant possibility that the 8th best team 13 games in can climb all the way to the top.
In conclusion, anything that amps up the value of the regular season is good. Play For Stuff.
Or you could fix 2/9ths of the problem.
Rome costs. To the university, zero. To the anonymous donor, 800k. Manuel did a good job pre-empting complaints that this was a waste of money:
“It will be about $5,000 to $6,000 a person, so it was a great investment. It was just terrific. We pay them through an educational experience like Michigan does all the time. I don’t think about it in terms of paying our athletes but if people want to say we should give something to our students of value, I can’t think of a better way to invest in them for their lifetime and their experience.”
Manuel said the donor still does not want to be identified. Donors often make large contributions to athletics, and the donor can specify where the money should go or it’s used at the discretion of the department.
“We utilized the money he gave us,” Manuel said. “It was an unrestricted donation.”
Big time athletic programs spend a lot of money on diamond waterfalls and the like; this was much more educational and directly beneficial to players. Michigan shouldn't apologize for offering them whatever they can. They're not.
The loophole. You can't hire a football coach associated with a prospect, at least not if you want to recruit that high school for four years. (Two prior to the hire, two after.) But you can hire a dude's dad. I'm not trying to imply MSU did anything shady here because the dude in question is clearly qualified, but they signed Cody White this year; the year before they hired his dad as a staffer. Sheldon, the elder White, is coming off two decades for the Lions and is thus 100% qualified to join a trainwreck. It did jump out at me when MSU shook up its staff.
So. Actual football coaches cannot get entry level jobs because it might taint recruiting. But stuff like Ole Miss hiring Shea Patterson's brother or Tennessee hiring Trey Smith's sister(!) is still fine and dandy per NCAA rules. I'm not surprised, but I feel like I should be.
Etc.: Jordan Morgan back in the area after a 3-year Euroleague stint. This quiz is absurd but it only wants you to get five right. I got 9.5, because this is my job. I am angry at myself for knowing where Pop Evil hails from.