It’s your regularly scheduled look around the world of college sports- a bit more in depth than the tidbits we’ve got after practice. Following Tuesday’s notes, be sure to check the latest on “reform” from the NCAA and thoughts on Penn State’s constant appeals processes.

Buckeye 411

  • Not So Fast…  Any speculation about Roby playing offense and defense was shut down by the coaches today. He made a spectacular play on an overthrow today, though- he’s going to be special. However, Corey Brown said that Roby wasn’t the fastest guy on the team, and called him out saying that he (Corey) wasn’t able to run during testing but that he could beat Roby in a race.

  • Dunn Update- Brionte spent much of the day with the second team offense. He will be a part of this year’s successes offensively.
  • Granted- Curtis Grant was back at practice after spending time in Virginia with his ill grandfather Josh Perry was back as well.
  • That’s Nate!  Also out today in helmets and shoulder pads was Nathan Williams, who did some contact drills without a brace on his leg. It should be noted that the contact was only 3/4 speed, working technique with tackling sleds and dummies.
  • Abandon Hope, B1G QBs- Shazier is now up 25 pounds and is actually faster than last year, although he’s honest that he played too fast last season. He talked about being able to let the play happen rather than rushing past it.
  • On The Blocks- Orhian Johnson blocked a field goal attempt in today’s competition.
  • Tackle Football- Reid Fragel and Taylor Decker split time at tackle today, with Decker working with the #1s during the final segment. This may be due to hydration issues from the heat today.
  • And So, It Begins-  The “We still love you, can we be besties?” between the Buckeyes and ESPN kicks off with this coverage from ESPN The Magazine


This Week In Happy Valley

Other than the uniforms thing and the number of transfers/decommits, the big news out of Happy Valley was that several members of the Board of Trustees are filing an appeal with the NCAA, hoping to get an audience to reconsider the sanctions that came down in July. This decision comes days after the Paterno family also appealed to Indianapolis and saw that appeal rejected (for good reason- it was similar to me appealing to the IOC regarding NBC’s stupid coverage… I have no audience to appeal something that’s not appeal-able).

The BOT appeal seems to be based on two ideals: 1) That the NCAA overstepped themselves in the magnitude of sanctioning and in going outside of it’s usual protocol for these types of investigations/sanctions and 2) That the ‘agreement’ reached was done so outside of PSU protocol, as it wasn’t brought before the entire board for approval.

There’s a lot of juggling going on here- Was PSU’s president given the clearance by either the BOT or by a subcommittee to sign a document accepting the penalties? Is this the type of thing that needs full BOT approval, since the document said they agreed to the matter? If only a small portion of the BOT (I’ve read that it may only be four members of the 30+ ) is protesting, does that protest even represent the Board’s opinion?

In the long run, the appeal may not matter- those filing it are expecting it to be overturned so that they can then press forward with a lawsuit to put at least a temporary hold on the sanctions.

UPDATE- Former players and a coach are also appealing the decision. Seriously.

In all of this, though, it’s important to remember that no matter how bad the PSU sanctions were, there was a huge possibility that they could have been worse, and it was other University presidents who wanted to see that happen. Mark Emmert actually ended up being an advocate for the University in this matter.

I’ve got several, conflicting opinions about this situation. First, it seems as if we’ve forgotten that there’s a larger issue here. In addition to the inevitable civil suits stemming from failure to document sexual assault, there’s also the investigation by several other entities into the University’s response. The Department of Education and other folks wield a much bigger hammer than the NCAA, and they are still lurking about. It would seem to me that a Board entrusted with the entire University’s care would invest in addressing these concerns.

Second, it does seem like football is still the most important thing on the docket here- that the Freeh Report’s concerns about the “culture” are being reinforced daily by those who are at the highest places of power in Happy Valley,  which is what got them in this mess in the first place.

Third- It’s important to remember that the NCAA is a voluntary organization. PSU is perfectly able to leave it at any time. They could totally go “rogue” or go to the NAIA. Now, there are obvious consequences with such a decision (such as not being allowed to play any other NCAA programs), but it is a decision that could be made. There’s no one requiring them to abide by the NCAA’s rules… you don’t like the sanctions? Take your ball and go home.  Not paying attention to the NCAA never hurt Barry Switzer, right? (Heyo!!)

As such, it might be interesting to see a court take a look at the “suit” and toss it out based on the fact that there’s no requirement for them to be in the NCAA. The NCAA is a private group, and although it’s a lot more complicated than this, Federal Courts aren’t really all that interested in mediating conflict within private groups, unless they violate some major law (discrimination, etc.).  Again, remember that other Federal entities are investigating PSU’s lack of compliance in this situation. Who knows how this will turn out?

Fourth- Here’s the other side of the coin: this could be another timber on the “Death to the NCAA” pyre. I personally think that the NCAA might have overstepped themselves procedurally here (by their own admission of “unprecedented” and the change in their typical processes). As such, this suit, combined with the challenges to the NCAA about finances (re: the BCS antitrust suit and abuses of non-profit status) could end up being the thing that ends up to its significant reform/termination.

Across The NCAA

“Where is all this revenue going?” Kirwan asked of the trend. “It’s certainly not going to the student-athletes, because they’re getting basically the same things they always got – room, board, books, and tuition. With the rare exception of one or two institutions, it isn’t going into the academic mission. So where does this revenue go? It goes into increasing the salaries of conference commissioners and athletics coaches and staff. And to building evermore opulent athletic facilities.”

According to the NCAA, 15.3% of all (current) student athletes across D1 would not be able to meet the new standards. 35.2% of all football players enrolled in 2009-10 wouldn’t be able to meet them, and a whopping 43.1% of all men’s basketball players would fall short. For some colleges, it isn’t hard to imagine that nearly their entire basketball team, or defensive backfield, would be unable to suit up for competition.

Which leads them to questions that we’ve been asking here all summer-

Another question might be, do these students even belong in college anyway? Let’s be honest. If you have a 2.0 GPA in your core classes, and a sub 21 ACT, you are not ready to handle coursework at The Ohio State University, no matter how fast you can run the 40 yard dash. You really wouldn’t be ready to handle coursework at most D1 universities, without significant remedial help. A non-athletic student would be shipped off to Ohio State-Newark to retake high school geometry, and be taught the finer points of crafting a five paragraph essay, without the harsh glare of the spotlight, or the pressures of catching up and playing sports at a high level.

At least one other person agrees with me. Gerald Gurney, a former president of the National Association for Academic Advisors for Athletics and associate athletic director for academics at Oklahoma says:

“That’s what I’ve been saying for many, many, many years,” Gurney said. “Why do we need an army of learning specialists at our schools? Why do we need to remediate athletes so that they can learn how to read beyond the fourth-grade level? Is that appropriate? Is that what college is supposed to be about? I don’t think so.”

“I would understand if the media misinterpreted the motive for the 12th game as a long-term fiscal fix, but I would be disappointed if athletics administrators saw it as anything but a short-term salve,” NCAA President Myles Brand wrote in 2005. “I believe most administrators and presidents understand that the decision is not a panacea for fiscal responsibility.”

Riiiiiiight. Florida’s entire “out of conference” schedule says “hello”.

Sports Illustrated takes a look at the other major cashflow, television revenue.

In 1984, The Associated Press estimated that all the college football rights agreements in the newly deregulated landscape would generate $43.6 million. That was down from the $69.7 million paid for the entire NCAA package for the 1983 season. To put that in perspective, ESPN will pay a reported $80 million to broadcast the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2015. Adjusted for inflation, those 1984 deals would be worth $90.3 million. So 30 years after the Supreme Court ruling, one game will be worth almost as much as an entire season of college football was immediately after the decision. According to some experts, college football remains a relative bargain compared to the NFL, meaning the earnings ceiling remains even higher.

Normally, however, there’s some realignment going on each off-season. In fact, in the 64-team era (coincidentally, also the “football-driven realignment era”) there’s been an average of ten changes in conference membership per season, ranging from the single change in 2002 and 2010 to 31 in 1991.

And Finally- The reason we have locks on our doors? I don’t like Ragu.