Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In or Out of Bounds?

I have a slightly different take on the Dez Bryant inappropriate questioning during the team interview with the Dolphins by Jeff Ireland. To recap briefly, Jeff Ireland ask Dez whose mom has had legal issues, was she a prostitute?

For everyday standard operating procedure at normal places of employment this FAR EXCEEDS the bounds of good taste, managerial decorum and skirts on the fringe of being legal. But the NFL is a boorish and brutal business. You know every Corner in the league is going to be taking shots at him about relationship with Deon, suspended by the NCAA AND Yes some fellas are going to pop off about his mom.

If the intent is to determine if Dez is going to blow up, cost the team yards and maybe a game because of some smash talk; if the intent was to see what it takes to get this WR on tilt off focus, then yes it was a legitimate question albeit lacking professional standards. In that case Team reprimand and punishment will suffice. But if the intent is from a Napoleon wanttabe aka short man complex, to put another big shot down; if the intent was worse -Jim Crow-esque, then Roger Goodell must act because this goes beyond “protecting the NFL shield” to being bad for business and the GM needing help.
Update: Jeff Ireland released a statement apologizing. Also I heard Ryan Stewart (2LiveStews) say that in the mid '90's @ the combined he was asked if he ever did the dirty deed with an animal. WOW!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Character Counts???

Tony Barnhart makes a point that character counts – millions for some. Tim Tebow lacking 1st round talent chosen, yet Carlos Dunlap having Top 10 talent gets left out of proceedings last Thursday.

Yes, you can find points where that axiom holds true, but if the theory was completely valid wouldn’t have Colt McCoy gone ahead of Jimmy Clausen and the bad teammate rumors? Why is Arrelious Benn, diva poster child, (WR – the fightin’ Zooker’s) selected almost 50 picks ahead of Andre Roberts or Armanti Edwards, who went back to back in the draft - representing the So-Con and the first two skilled players to go from D1-AA? Why does Colin Peek (TE – Alabama) go completely undrafted, behind 20 others’ selected at the same position? Why does Scott Sicko, also a TE, end up not one of the 255 tapped and is going to pursue a Master’s in pol-sci @ UNH? (Yes, he showed character for sticking to his goals and beliefs.) And the biggest hole in the theory, why did Myron Rolle, a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford England, slip to the 3rd Day; 6th Round (207); behind 15 others safeties (16th out of 19)? Could maybe somebody thought that the guys lacking character had MORE TALENT than the “works hard, excellent character” guys?

Why I’m writing a blog, avocationally? Maybe there is just not a lot of demand for a C/3B with a weak arm, lacks power, defense needs work, timed with a sun dial, whiffs on a good deuce and has difficulty catching up to hard inside pitch. Applying Barnhart’s idiom, the Hustle Award, I got at the Tates Locke (hired the General & later Asst. GM Blazers) Basketball Camp combined with the Who’s Who in High School and support of mission trips should have gotten me picked up near round 59 in the MLB draft.

Update: Sicko changes heart.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Expansion

Earth Day...just in time to save the landscape....

There was a glass of cold water thrown to the face of the expansion talk yesterday from Scottsdale, AZ by Jim Delany when he said that there WOULD NOT be an accelerated time table for expansion. Meaning that an announcement on which teams the Big 10 will select would NOT come this summer like many predicated, but keeping the 12 to 18 months timetable. By my calendar that means December at the earliest. Close the roofs on the silos FOR THE MOMEMT. However, Mike Slive did issue a warning from the UN:
“I won’t sit back and just ignore what is going on around me,” Slive said. “We will be thinking ahead so we are prepared to do whatever we need to do.” “If there’s going to be a significant shift in the conference paradigm, the SEC will be strategic and thoughtful to make sure that it maintains its position as one of the nation’s preeminent conferences,” Slive said. (Pete Thamel NY Times)
Meaning the SEC might pan something own its’ own which was my main point yesterday.

After discussion with a reader, I felt as my point was misconstrued. No way should the SEC expand “just to keep with the Jones’” The SEC should do WHATEVER is necessary to stay the preeminent conference. I translate to mean as having the biggest war chest AND the best product. Clearly the SEC has the best football conference as Slive artfully remained folks at the meeting; it’s four in a row.

However, to my point yesterday every year the SEC waits TO DO SOMETHING it LOOSES, by a multiplier of $5M for each institution and will grow! Supremacy, Conference Supremacy can’t remain with that kind of shortfall. Therefore, Mike Slive MUST ACT NOW – over the summer meetings– to keep the SEC at the TOP!

They got a bit of a break as Jim Delany, to use a coaching (leadership) analogy, “couldn’t coach his team way out of a wet paper bag.” He couldn’t pull together the right coalition to pull this off – right now. But this is just a temporary standoff. Its still is going to happen with or with ND. The Big East and Big 12 will still come up on the wrong side of the ledger. No matter how many consults Jim Marinatto hires. (The Big East hired Paul Taglibue, ex-NFL commish, as a consult for this project.)

Lead the way, Mike Slive, just like the conference has done for the last generation. First Strike, Mike!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


4/ 20 used to just be an underground holiday to honor the memory of some California High school students who would meet at that time after class to celebrate the joys of cannabis. The folks at the prestigious AAU (Association of American Universities) started their annual meeting Tuesday. Least we should forget all 11 conference commissioners are meeting this week in Scottsdale, AZ. Why link these events? All of the Big 10 institutions are members of AAU, thus all Big 10 Presidents will be there at one place; thus the speculation that there will be side bars with tons of smoke bellowing out; presidents emerging delirious and Jim Delany and Jack Swarbrick ND’s athletic director will be in the same spot and either might, after a toke or two, tip his hand.

Ole Sweater Vest said on the topic of expansion this week “It’s inevitable.” A few weeks ago, Jack Swarbrick said there could be a landscape that would force ND to join the Big 10. Let’s not forget that in all other sports ND is a member of the Big East; then to make this work, the power grab of getting ND into the Big 10, the elimination of the Big East as a viable and attractive option is a must; sorry Mountaineer fans. So priority #1 in Jim Delany’s plan is to take The Big East out if the picture. The Big 10 is going to bombard and raid the Big East to take away eyeballs and dollars to the point that ND comes to the conclusion that the Big East is no longer an attractive league for its’ for secondary sports. The lynch pin to conference break up is stripping away the cohesive glue - football. Because the football league for the Big East is relatively small (8), just the addition of a couple of teams is necessary to accomplish that task. (Plus, it is revenue generating additional markets for you; it’s a win/win, except for the causalities of Cincinnati, WVU and leftovers not picked.) You can say that it is a great basketball league and it is, but still the conference cachet (and cash) is because of football; otherwise it is one step above the A-10 conference – not BCS Big 6 conference. For ND playing the “got to remain Independent” card until the bitter end, see the new Big East emerging with CUSA members, and there is no way that ND is sharing a dime or afflation with Memphis or Southern Miss even for its’ secondary sports. Comes across as a bit hoity toity, but it is a reality. In summary Delany sees TO GET football (ND), it has to TAKE football away (from Big East) and it’s a zero sum game. ND will be coerced enough with higher pay outs that it joins – volunteered sort of, after all it’s bizznes’.

So in terms of fish food, to land the whale takes some sort of consortium of Rutgers, Pitt, UConn and Syracuse. All teams aren’t necessary to accomplish the mission; two of the four are a minimum; three of the four maybe in play. Also as the bomber bays open, you know that WVU and Louisville are starting to make phone calls to the Mike Silve and anyone else that will listen, “Hey pick us up!” only furthers the likelihood that the Big East is in shambles with just the threat. Say the Big 10 goes with two universities to land ND; that takes the league to 14, but 16 teams makes the conference more balanced.
Second on the agenda is to increase revenue (this will also be attractive to ND). Because of markets and legends of fans this makes the not much publicized Nebraska a real option (a cut just below Texas as far as national appeal goes) very attractive. Nebraska makes selling of BTN nationwide easier. As well as securing the Kansas City/ St Louis markets, and long rumored likely candidate, Missouri a viable player. Missouri makes sense on many fronts. Missouri is a member of AAU and is likely to be partaking in the side bars. Missouri has ‘natural’ rivalries with some Big 10 schools. It has markets for Delany; it has customers for BTN and Fox News Corporation, who owns 49% of BTN. If there is a shoe in for expansion, it’s the Tigers.

One point, that I had a hard time understanding, but now am clear on is that I thought expansion meant fewer dollars for each institution. No, because of BTN and the proceeds gained from it. First, BTN will be able to charge higher advertising rates in general because of expanded markets. Second, live events offer premium rates more so than infomercials or Bo vs. Woody re-runs. With basketball BTN could offer 2 games every night. Triple headers of football games could be offered. Third, there will subscription fees generated. Right now for BTN, there is a roughly 25% conversion rate between potential subscribers and actually getting BTN. BTN is still mainly on 2nd tier programming. One, they hope expansion will drive BTN down to basic channels (fees per all subscribers) and two, if not, convert a higher percentage. Can you imagine NOT getting a ND game? Catholics would be screaming at local cable providers; then end up paying for 2nd tier programming. Either way moola rolls into Jim Delany’s world. Expansion equals ESPN3 E$PN4, instead of behind CBS College sports channel and potentially maybe on par with ESPN2.

The decision markers are Jim Delany and the university presidents; however, do not under estimate Fox (and their associated advertising agencies) power and influence in this expansion. For Fox, 49 cents on every dollar isn’t spilt umpteen ways. I have read that this deal could conservatively be worth $200,000,000 to Fox’s bottom line. While CBS, CNN, ABC news all are loosing fistfuls of money Fox news would be making gobs of it. That’s enough money to keep Geraldo on the air a very long time - way more than I am comfortable with.

While the Big 10 has been making the headlines, Joe Pa let us know last week that the Pac 10 was making its own waves behind the scenes and wanting to expand to divisional play as well. First, likely candidate that I see is Colorado. They are on par academically (easy sell to Presidents) and they bring in the Denver market. The other team would be either Utah or Boise St, if jumping just to divisional play. Boise would be pressing the flesh hard, but I suspect the nod would go to Utah for the Salt Lake market. If they go to all the way to 16 teams, I could see BYU, TCU (for a Texas footprint – Dallas market; the Long Horns already said no a couple years ago) and (this is thinking out of the box, for a “national appeal” to the conference & “the reason to expand is football”) Oklahoma, as well as the other team not chosen for 12th team expansion. For the Pac 10, I see value in 12 (championship game), but less for 16. I see 16 teams splitting not increasing revenue, like the Big 10. They have no TV deal/ network – although many are syndicated on local Fox Sport channels programming already, a very loose affiliation. Also, you can forget about San Jose, Fresno St, San Diego St – stay classy - joining. That make sense geographically, but Pac 10 sees those schools as UGA sees Kennesaw St joining the SEC – over grown commuter/ JC schools.

If I am either Dan Beebe, Big 12 commissioner, or John Marinatto, who has been on the job less than a year after succeeding Mike Tranghese as Big East commissioner, I am quaking in my boots right now. The silo tops are open, and nukes to the college landscape are getting rocket fuel and aimed directly at you. Does the ACC finish off what it started in seven years ago, completely dismantle the Big East and go to 16 teams with sloppy seconds?

It has been nearly a generation since the SEC expanded. For nearly 20 years the SEC has been the preeminent athletic conference, the benchmark that Roy Kramer envisioned. However, now a $5 Million gap, per year, exists between each Big 10 and SEC institution (and growing if expansion takes place). Obviously, the first school and call go to Austin, TX, but what if Texas says no. They value the Red River Rivalry or they demand a disparate share – a higher percentage of revenues, like they have in their Big 12 deal, which Mike Silve would have to say No to; otherwise, he has a tempest breaking out in Tuscaloosa, Gainesville, Baton Rogue, Knoxville and Athens. What if Texas says they are going to make the Big 12 work with OU, by picking up Arkansas and ? What if the Prom Queen says yes, but have to double date with the less attractive step-sister (TAMU)? What does Mike Silve do to increase revenues by $136 Million dollars per year? (16 teams raking in $22M – $352M and 12 team hauling $18M -$216M----Just to MATCH Big 10 payouts and status/ membership or a $48M variance if remaining @ 12). SEC TV is already in Dallas and Houston. It just signed a $3 BILLION dollar contract with CBS & ESPN last year. Could the contract be re-done for SEC doubleheader on Saturday’s for CBS? Does the SEC have a $1 surcharge on all tickets sold to go to home office for later re-distribution? How does Alabama feel about money raised going to Auburn?

Can any combination of teams bring up the SEC’s value that much - $136M per yr? Again Texas, helps. It helps a lot. Could they, would they go single? IF you add UT and TAMU to go to 14, then don’t you HAVE TO go to 16 for balance? Does the SEC try to pick 2 more “old Big 12” teams OU and ??? What impact on secondary sports schedules does “Going West” do to the travel budget? Would targeting WVU add enough of a Mid-Atlantic/ parts of PA presence for the SEC to consider? Ditto Va Tech. Would Miami and FSU sign up? Miami and Donna Shalala has in previous comments indicated that Miami is too good for the SEC – academically and her preference is to keep the ACC strong, but would $22M per year change her mind. FSU has said No thanks previously. Clemson makes geographical and sports sense but does it bring bucks to the negotiating table? What does Louisville offer that Kentucky doesn’t already bring? Ditto Cincinnati. USF or UCF look like attractive candidates for the SEC – really? Does a UNC leave the ACC – doubt it? Break up Basketball along Tobacco Road? IF there is a 16 team conference does it go to a 7 divisional -1 other cross division game (to keep rivals alive AU/ UGA; Tenn/ Bama) – 4 non-conference games schedule format for football, to keep teams that want 8 home games happy? Is that 1 cross division game fixed or does it rotate? Or do you mandate a 7 -4 – 1 schedule, flip flopping the other 4 teams the following year? That gives a more competitive argument. That only allows for 7 home dates max and virtually eliminates out of conference rival games (GA/GT; Clemson/ S.Car). Would that eliminate neutral site games to be assured 7 home dates???? (Jax?)

Just for fun say Texas, TAMU (west), FSU and Miami (east) all join w 7-4-1 format.
UGA schedule could be Tenn, FL, S. Car., Kentucky, FSU, Miami, Vandy, AU, MSU, Ark, and Texas. Costal Carolina for Homecoming
The following yr it could be Tenn, FL, S. Car., Kentucky, FSU, Miami, Vandy, Bama, Ole Miss, LSU and TAMU. W. Kentucky for Homecoming.
3rd year flip the sites of 1st year, replace homecoming opponent.
4th year flip the sites of 2nd year, replace homecoming opponent.
Brutal for anyone, any year – no one would go undefeated, but great football. A 2 Loss Divisional champ is highly probable. Have the ties breaks down to the 10th degree. This format probably not enacted but fun to look. More realistic is something along the line of the 7-1-4 format.

I don’t know which way the SEC moves, but if any part of the Big 10 coo is successful; the SEC will be forced to act. Although it could be argued that the $5M gap is already evidence that his plan is working. But I ask why not take the aggressive route and make the proactive strike before shrapnel hits the league?...Bombs Awayyyyy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What shall we do? - in the wake of the Mett incident

In light of the Zach Mettenberger incident, David Hale asked “I'd also be curious, if you think Richt has failed in his role as head coach, mentor or disciplinarian, what would you suggest he could have done differently?”

David asks what else could be done by the CMR? If CMR is guilty I ask, then isn’t UGA guilty for not having the structure in place? I digress:
Otter: Point of parliamentary procedure!
Hoover: Don't screw around, they're serious this time!
Otter: Take it easy, I'm pre-law.
Boon: I thought you were pre-med.
Otter: What's the difference?
Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did. [winks at Dean Wormer] But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but I for one am not going to stand here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!
Coming back around to the seriousness of the situation and real life circumstance of what could have been enhanced. Let me go big picture.

What if…. What if, there was not a Geology 101 (Rocks for Jocks) but Sociology, are whatever department, Life skills class 101 for all scholarship players to take freshman year, first class to sign up for? Go over getting a valid drivers license – producing it gets 10 points. Review driving rules and regulations – what to do maintain it, DUI prevention. Go over social media – what to do and not do. Go over social scenarios including dating and approaching women, members if the opposite sex, people for encounters. Go over alcohol awareness, drug awareness and steroids. Go over check book finance and personal budgeting. Go over media relations basics. Produce a paper on mistakes of other athletes. Final grade withheld until graduation or transfer or drafted or booted out. It is an application class.

For players, one & done- three & done- and other’s, with a true ambition and talent on becoming a professional in their sports offer up an entire major. Course selection could include:
How to select an agent and marketing yourself
How not to blow $87 Million dollars and file for bankruptcy
More in-depth media relations
How to come across well in formal settings: team interviews and public speaking
Investments: Stock market, real estate & other places to grow money
Foundations and civic organization - What makes a good one to give back
How to judge marketing deals and endorsements
Board Room relations
How to handle groupies, hangers and other people after your $$$.
Pitfalls of Guns & Airport Security
Pitfalls of Guns, T&A clubs, drugs and 3 a.m. – nothing good comes with that combo.
Speaking of combo’s - Nutrition
Wonderlic Prep

Yes, I had a little fun with the titles of the offerings, but no I am completely serious. I know that the academic elite would go wonkers, but this is a new day. No, this isn’t taking down a university to a technical school level. Just as many discoveries, academic studies didn’t exist 20 years ago and a few might get a sophomoric chuckle in some circles (the professor honored at the game for the advancement of, uber importance, the fruit fly); this field would be avant-garde to the era which those students find themselves. You already have available a Sports Management and Golf Management degrees being offered some online. I would vehemently argue the proposed major would be more enriching than to take six random courses (and with the last three being withdrawals because the athlete thinks “don’t need it”). As much investment that the schools have, I think a professor delivering a class to keep the good name of the university intact AND too keep good people, for the most part, out of trouble, AND that they would learn like skills is a wise and needed investment.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Crickets are chirping at night; Birds are singing during the day; Coconut oils proliferates the senses; Pollen coats my car window. Ahhh Spring has sprung I say! Pardon me, as I snort up thru my nostrils.

Spring is a time for re-birth, a new beginning. For Christians last week was the most important week of the year. Passion plays, Palm (passion) Sunday, the excitement of Easter morning are examples of this energy. As a college football fan, in particular a UGA fan, the most important week in MY CALENDAR starts this weekend!

A quick recap the UGA 09/10 sports year (stats thru Mundy Thursday)

  • Football: .500 in conference; 3rd in the East; had the most “L’s” in the CMR era (5)
  • MBB: 5-11 in conference; 5th in the East; 11th overall (out of 12); no post season
  • WBB: struggling to be .500 in conference (9-7); blown out by 40 points in Sweet 16.
  • Hardball: 1 conference “W”; Team ERA over the age of my youngest daughter who’s in the 4th grade!!! - Ugggg. 6 games under .500
  • Gym DAWGS: Finished 3rd in SEC championships; clearly knocked off the balance beam pedal stool as THE Program.
  • M&W Golf: Both teams ranked, but each behind 3 other SEC teams, and Men are behind Tech!
  • M&W Swimming and Diving: M-4th; W-3rd
  • M&W Tennis: Both 2nd in conference & division – due to overall record
  • M&W Indoor Track: both 5th
  • W Competitive Kickball (aka Soccer): 3rd
  • Softball: #8 in polls; however 3rd in SEC East
  • Volleyball: 8-12 in conference; 5th in Conference
  • Equestrian: Awwburn knocked DAWGS of their high horse in Southern Championship.
I see mediocrity scattered throughout the entire athletic department. I see no national prominence in anything, no SEC Hardware. I see no WILL to win. Recently, I caught an interview with Geno Auriemma, and the reporter question the UConn WBB coach if he was worried when they trailed at the half in the title game. He said “This team desires, ABOVE ALL else, to WIN the game we’re playing on ANY given night; tonight was NO EXCEPTION.” Could be coach speak 101? Could it be a belief system that translated onto the court? I do know that I haven’t seen that belief manifested onto a field or court or arena this year for UGA sports. …. I haven’t seen PASSION.

Hopefully that changes STARTING SATURDAY! A return to the Golden Era starts by players who play like they give a damn between the hedges. As legendary coach Erk Russell would say, I want to see “A Bad Case of THE WANTS!” So long as no UGA QB doesn’t have a UT Nick Stephens stats line from his last scrimmage (2 for 9; 6 yds), I don’t care about numbers.

Like it not Football drives both the cash and credence, confidence of the entire athletic department….and my calendar.