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Response Required: American should Lead Left Outs to REAL Autonomy

Hi Pirate friends…warning…a full-on rant  follows:

So, I was driving today and listening to LSU’s Athletics Director Joe Alleva on SiriusXM radio College Sports channel discussing the autonomy plans for the equity conferences. I know very little about Alleva and would guess he is probably a very good guy and a great professional, but to listen to him go on about how “we” speaking exclusively for the P5 conferences are in the “job of caring for and educating kids” makes me want to just lose it. Really? In it for the kids and autonomy is (btw, read this and open your mind and you will see how easy it will be to abuse this) simply the way for the schools to do what they have always wanted to…do right by these young student-athletes? I thought, while listening, “wow, the ink is barely dry on this decision, but highly polished, unabashed talking points have apparently already been doled out to the ADs and Coaches across the chosen 5 conferences.

The men who are eating away college football. Slive, Bowlsby, Kramer, Scott, and Swofford...when will enough be enough?
The men who are eating away college football. Slive, Bowlsby, Kramer, Scott, and Swofford…when will enough be enough?

Not too much earlier today, ESPN – one of the driving forces behind this whole ridiculous marketing campaign to call greasing the revenue stream anything but what it is – released a story wherein a crack reporter (no doubt given his marching orders to feed the propaganda machine) actually brazenly released the Yes/No voting list of coaches in a poll about playing or not playing the non-p5 teams (here) wherein a large number of the coaches say it is best to play their own kind rather than schools like East Carolina. (Aside: Funny how fast the Todd Grahams and the Chris Petersens have flipped ala Mike Slive…going from BCS is a sham to P5 is as American as Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Apple Pie…SELLOUTS all of them…including Frank Beamer, who I never would have guessed would fall into the Yes camp. That was a heart breaker to read.)

The fix was in a long time ago and the script was well-written by the men who are destroying college football. Led by former CUSA Commissioner Mike Slive (SEC), the group that includes Big 10 Commish Jim Delaney, Big 12 chief Bob Bowlsby, Pac 12 Larry Scott and, of course, ACC top man John Swofford, are collectively engineering the end of college football. And while they are pals with common purpose (greed), that same desire will eventually turn them on each other.

If anyone thinks that the next step by these men has not been carefully choreographed, they are delusional. Expect BEFORE the season kicks off, a series of items being implemented at these schools so rapidly it will make your head spin and limp, flaccid Emmert-led NCAA to remain quiet if not supportive even though the proposals are not even to go in until October for the 2015 season. If you think a food truck at Oklahoma is a nice perk…just keep your eyes peeled…it all about to play out now. Imagine the following items:

1. Luxury dorms/condos for athletes;

2. Rental cars (hey, they need to be able to go on a date like an average kid);

3. Business expense cards…so you can track the expenditures and write them off;

4. Clothing stipend…gotta have the best threads;

5. Autograph fees, licensing royalties, etc.;

6. Big time recruiting parties…private jets, limos, gal pals, you name it;

7. University employed agents – oh, they may be called something like career counselors or transition specialists – but they will look a lot like agents;

8. On campus loan officers: once a kid looks like a pro prospect, shouldn’t they be able to borrow big hunks of money?

It is coming. Sure is. And the university presidents, ADs, and coaches know that they have FAT alums more than happy to foot bill after bill…all in the name of taking care kids…educating them.

So…I have a proposition I think the Mike Aresco should consider. Preempt these greedy university presidents and lead a breakaway from the NCAA completely by the non-P5. Seriously, split away, and REWRITE THE RULES.

Imagine, the non-p5 teams…all of them…representing a sizeable TV market collectively, doing away with the NCAA altogether. Why limit to 85 scholarships…throw that out. Why not fully scholarship other sports…hell yeah! How about we can call a recruit ANY TIME WE LIKE. Send a limo, fly mom and dad around…why not give cash…we have rich alums too…why not? Let’s go full on autonomy. Basic rules…but do whatever you would like to get players and keep them. I guarantee if the have nots did that – took off all regulations – like the USFL, the signings would be enough to make the P5 teams drool. USFL..let’s see Hershel Walker, Jim Kelly, Steve Young, Dan Marino, Reggie White, Doug Williams, Kelvin Bryant, Gary Anderson, Sam Mills, Maurice Carthon…the list goes on. Hey, initially, we would actually be able to PAY MORE for our players. Tell me that the 5 stars would still go to the P5 schools if we were guaranteeing higher payouts, shorter commitments, and no need to worry at all about test scores or grades. Grayshirts for any player who doesn’t qualify and guess what, in the best interest of the kid, we will pay the bill for that year.

Seriously, why not proactive lead a counter approach. Not the spring league June Jones posited, but something different. Remember, one of the things that elitists hate the most, is when there is no one there to look down on…to pick on…to lord over. The big schools will over tool it all and eventually implode. Incest never works out in the long run.

Imagine, a league with the other 70 some schools, all revenue sharing on a TV contract (and there would be a good TV contract out there), no NCAA taking their cut (what would they do without the small schools to penalize when the big schools cheat???), and the only rules we would have to contend with, would be those that the members all agreed upon.

I know that it won’t happen, but man, I wish the non-P5 conferences would join together and make it tough on the P5. In a game where all the players are trying to get all of the money, it probably won’t be long before the top teams in each of the P5 start buzzing about forming an even more elite league – one where if you do not have your own TV network (underwritten of course by ESPN), you cannot be part of the group.

But, while these commissioners start turning on each other to carve out one of the P5 to the P4, don’t think that at some point a university president is going to call another – probably a t-con hosted by ESPN (and videotaped for airplay later) to discuss more consolidation of revenues…ahem…I mean, conference realignment for the good of, you know, the kids.

You know, this league is coming: Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia, Florida State, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Southern Cal, Oregon, Nebraska and of course…Notre Dame (even though they haven’t had a team worth a crap since our old coach’s daddy coached them). Throw in say, Arkansas and Tennessee (because of overall money/revenues), you have a nice two-division, 16 team power conference. Then, all of the money and TV goes to this group and the remaining current haves then look around like, “what da hell just happened??” It’s coming…when everyone with power wants every last dollar, the ranks cannot helped but be trimmed over time until there is no one left standing and the power brokers all looking at each wondering how they got there, but at the same time not caring, because they are all bloated twice-over with so many fat stacks that they can’t figure out how to blow it all in their grandchildren’s lifetime.

They really are ruining college football all for the money. If any league has a chance to join the table, it will be the American…TV markets and history…but not without critical mass hitting the current collection of haves and the commissioners and presidents not having an alternative to squeeze out more money. It is a shame. It is a sham. It is reality, now, too.

But, hey, it’s for the kids. Yes, the athletes will gain a smidgen of what they should have had all along: good health insurance, stipend for some extra cash to offset not being able to work, and some relief when it comes to family getting tickets, support for games, etc., but the open check book and the autonomy will never have the players best interest at heart. NEVER. Not going to happen.

The LSU AD while professing that the kids are what matters, also said, basically that life is not fair and the thought of trying to control fair play, fair competition was absurd. That those with the most money should be able to do whatever they want, because, well…they have the most money. That mindset is counter to competition. It is dangerous too because it once again changes the student-athlete back to a product…a tool…to be used to create financial returns. The only difference is, those kids will get a little more money in their pockets. But overall, all that will happen is the rich getting richer until they reach a point of no more money to grab. Then…and only then…will someone think, “hey…what about those other 70 schools? Maybe there is more green to be had.”

But that may never come because once it’s broke…rebuilding might be too much to manage.

Sigh. Cherish what you witness with the Pirates this year because there is a good chance, that it won’t get any better than this going forward.

20 comments on “Response Required: American should Lead Left Outs to REAL Autonomy

  1. Ed Keller

    Really a sad state of affairs. It won’t be long before we have a complete P5 breakaway leaving ECU permanently in a lower tier. Now, it will be worse because we won’t even be able to play, and beat, the ACC teams. Sad day.

    • I know Ed…btw, always, always good to hear from you. Hope your summer is going well.

      I really do believe that if the remaining teams totally pulled out of the NCAA and wrote their own rules which were based on the acknowledgment that college football has long since been about student-athletes and just call it what it is, then I believe we could really thrive for the short run and be viable once reason returns to the picture.

      Sad day, indeed.

      Nevertheless, Go Pirates!

      • Ed Keller

        My biggest concern is continued national attention and our own fanbase. Would we still be able to garner national tv exposure and money w/o playing ACC and SEC teams? Would our own fanbase hold up if we’re not playing UNC and NCSU? I would watch the Pirates play just about anyone but not sure that is true for the casual fan.

        BTW…I’m working through your other analysis…really enjoying it. awesome work.

      • I have similar concerns about the fanbase. It would be particularly hard for our fans, given the history of our program…wanting to play anyone, anywhere…

        I, too, would watch the Pirates play anyone, but I also have never had to watch our Pirates play a schedule where we didn’t have big games on the ticket.

        I definitely think our fanbase would shrink noticeably and then have to be rebuilt under the new model.

        Thanks on the comments Ed.

  2. Fully agree on the ultimate outcome of the P5. NFL like minor league with no pesky concerns about academics and class attendance and grades and all that silly stuff is the ultimate end for the real power programs. WFU is dead man walking but just hasn’t realized it yet.

    Your idea is novel but could only work if a major network (meaning one who could sell the ads to pay big bucks) would fund it. Is there a major sports network outside of the ESPN/ABC cartel? Could Fox be that elephant in the room? Is CBS still a real network? Lastly, the loss of March Madness would hold back the G% from bolting just as it has so far kept the P5 inside the NCAA. Hard to hold a prolonged national championship basketball tournament with only 65 or so members.

    • Thanks for dropping in Factoid…always love reading your opinions.

      You know, I didn’t really think about the hoops angle…I always kind of figured that hoops would drive hoops future so if the college football powers went to crazy, basketball conferences could behave in any manner they wanted and not be linked to the structure…but really that was a silly assumption on my part as the structure is critical for both sports.

      Your point on hoops really may be the only thread that keeps this thing from not fully breaking apart. Funny…hoops to the rescue.

      Anyhow, I am obviously not real bullish on the short term future.

      Best to you Factoid and Go Pirates Go!

  3. Blackbeard's Ghost

    Allow me to continue your rant brother…. And you are preaching to the choir RC…but damn I love your logic. It’s all about the money.
    And you can believe that every decision these B5 (I’m going to change their names from P5 to B5 (Bastard 5)) make are only in their best interest money wise. To sit on their royal asses and speak of what is best for the students is absolutely absurd.
    I need to stop before I blow a gasket.

    Screw it.

    If congress doesn’t step in real soon, this whole thing we call college football is going to spiral out of control and crash into a heaping pile of dung.
    And no offense to the Dung Beetle which always gets a bad rap with that catch phrase. Although I would place the integrity of an average ordinary Dung Beetle way above somebody like Swofford or any of those pieces of &$%#.
    One way or another, these B5 are going to seperate themselves into an elitist group and as of right now, there isn’t anything or anyone to stop them.

    Carry on sir and Go Pirates!!!

    • BBG…thank you. I always feel better when I hear from you.

      I know I am not alone by any stretch on this, but it sure feels better to hear others are feeling the same way!

      Cheers BBG…Hopefully the players are listening and getting even more worked up.

  4. Chuck Tignor

    We’ve still got this season to make our mark on the AAC because the Pirates are going to be AWESOME! It is a shame what is happening to college football but I predict that when the P5 comes to their senses that there will be a real shake up and if we keep on winning, who knows where we will end up. The American public loves football too much to let the greedy few destroy it for the rest of us. Keep your head up Pirates and focus on the task at hand! I can’t wait for the season to start.


    • Hey Chuck…thanks for dropping in.

      As I know you know already…we Pirates find a way, particularly when times look the worst.

      Positive outlooks always welcome.

      I do think we have the chance to make a statement this year.

      Go Pirates, Go!

  5. JollyRoger

    How does the P5 get around Title IX? How long before a women’s rights group file a class action suit? Will it be politically correct to pay a football/hoops player while the field hockey/softball ladies go wanting?

    • That is a good question JR…

      And, how do they treat players on partials? Right now, baseball for example, has a number of scholarships that are divided by the total number of players. Also, is it only scholarship players? What about the preferred walk-ons? If they hit the field, shouldn’t then be classified as athletes. Will there now be another class of athletes that gets nothing?

      Thanks for commenting JR…this is one to watch…

  6. At least spell Joe Alleva’s name correctly in your rant.

  7. The trouble with all of this is that it has always defied logic and common sense. Go back to the early 80’s it was about rears in seats and the ability for your program to travel. Today that has zero merit. Then the argument for inclusion was about media markets. Funny how most of these schools especially in the SEC come from markets that don’t register with Neilson yet they get a pass. I could almost follow the logic if this was about the best 64 team in the country but its not. Look at a school like Washington State they draw half the crowd we do, have gone 18-55, hail from no place, yet are paid like royality of college athletics. There are plenty more examples of programs just like theirs that come from P5 conferences that don’t belong yet not a word from the media.

    The media or lack there of has led to the total demise of this country on so many fronts because reporters refuse to report. They all have an agenda and push it while covering an issue and call it news. They say the greatest power the media has is the power to ignore. Where has the reporting been on this?

    I remember the first time I saw ESPN I was a Frosh at ECU. I told friends and family that it was a pretty neat idea despite the fact all they were showing at the time was billiards, Aussie Football, lawn Darts, and bowling. The highlight of their network was sports center where you could see clips from all major sports all across the country rather than just the home squad. Little did I know that a sports channel would turn into a propaganda machine for their own agenda. The idea that we have been force fed women’s basketball, soccer, the NBA for decades when nobody wanted anything to do with it. You can look at their golf coverage now that it appears Tiger will not sniff Jacks record all of their golf reporting has been negative with stories of why the sport is in decline, possibly addictive and destroying our way of life. You got the polar opposite coverage when it appeared Tiger was going to take down this trumped up record.

    The idea of the P5 with no reporting of why these 64 programs deserve the riches while schools like BYU or UConn holders of National Championships deserve nothing is a complete joke yet not a word.

    I guess whats more frustrating is the lack of public outcry but with no reporting on the subject and your school counted among the elites why would you care. In the long run how can this be good. With a smaller world better facilities, training, and coaching the talent pool has never been deeper yet we want to constrict it? All one has to do is look at college basketball where the term Cinderella is over used from the Butlers, to the George Masons, to all of these programs that could beat anybody given the chance to compete. Alert to ESPN that is why I watch.

    In the end you could rant on this subject for hours making point after point. There was never a bigger sports fan than myself but with money corrupting most of these leagues I’ve lost interest. My family has held season tickets to the Redskins since the early 50’s and gave them up this year. I’m asked to fork out over $100 per seat to watch the NHL, NBA, pay $40 to park $10 for a beer only to watch players label themselves as entertainers and mail it in. I’m done.

    One of the few things left was college sports despite the stacked deck and now the final nail in the coffin. If the networks expect me to support the concept of the P5 they can forget it I will find something better to do with my time.

    • DCP28…you have nailed it (was going to say home run, but given the subject…).

      Being a former reporter your thoughts on lack of true reporting really struck a cord. I so agree with that sentiment…and more scary then the impact it has had on sports – destroying it – has been the impact that lack of reporting has had on humanity home and abroad. It is a sad state of affairs.

      The ESPN of our younger years is so distant an echo of what it has become today, that I almost separate it from the monster that is eating up and spitting out sports of today.

      They have ruined a lot of it for me as well. Like you, college sports were my last footing, bolstered by ECU, but I feel that footing to be on loose ground nowadays.

      I take my kids to Flyers games because the boys are so deep into hockey, but otherwise, the cost doesn’t equate with the product most of the time.

      I, too, notice that I am looking for other things to do…watching more of the games I want to see through my DVR rather than going to the ballpark or watching it live.

      Sad days ahead, IMO.

  8. piratedoc

    this absurdity is not surprising. we all knew that the ‘haves’ would try to once again exclude the ‘have nots,’ all in the name of revenue and tv markets.
    when that happens, i will never watch another P5 game. screw their ratings.


    the med school could make way better use of my money.

    • Hi Doc…thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

      As I hope everyone knows, my rant was sarcasm…I do not want to see players paid beyond the cost of a college education. In fact, I would like to see a minor league football organization so that the only kids getting football scholarships are the ones who actually also want an education and see the value of it beyond using the school for a primer before they head off to the NFL.

      The university presidents, the athletics directors, the coaches at these P5 schools are making so much money that they refuse to acknowledge the fact that for them it is a professional and their expectations are to be compensated at the highest levels, personally. These kids are their meal ticket. For the FAT CAT alums (not saying all) the costs associated to engineer bragging rights is nothing compared to having something to brag about (otherwise, the money would be going to the med schools, scholarships for academics, university improvements, etc., not just to ATHLETICS).

      IMO, the real absurdity is that the presidents, ADs, Coaches, and big money athletics boosters spend enormous amounts of time, money, and effort to convince people to believe (mostly to ease their own conscious) that all of this is for the benefit of these kids. IF THAT WERE reality, universities would swiftly separate themselves from athletics altogether and teams would play intramural, raising money with car washes and bake sales and being raised from and of the student body itself.

      Your last sentence says a lot and I agree.

      Cheers Doc…

      Go Pirates, Go!

  9. 1994Pirate

    Great write up RC, I couldn’t agree with you more. You should send an email to Aresco with your thoughts in terms if the G5 breaking away.

    We need to start calling the P5 what they really are, The Axis of Evil. I am always amused by these assertions of players needing more money to eat. I know some of them come from humble backgrounds and some from deplorable conditions yet just about every college football player finds enough money to get covered in tattoos. I don’t have a tattoo but have lots of friends that do and they’re not cheap. Some of these kids get entire sleeves and chest tattoos and so on which costs 100’s if not 1000’s of dollars.

    E$PN and the Axis of Evil will destroy this game, when you do things for the wrong reason it never ends well. Greed is the wrong reason though they will keep talking about caring for student athletes. They’ve said that lie so much that they actually believe it now.

    Just 5 years ago we were told we would never get a playoff, but with declining ratings for the BCS it forced to change. With all this autonomy crap the same thing will happen at some point in time and they may then finally get to their senses.

    Finally, if ECU was to be included in the P5 or the American was to join the P5 I would still feel this way.

    Always enjoy your posts!

    • Hi 1994Pirate…thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment.

      I totally agree on the fact that the lie has been told so much that they probably do really believe it.

      History has shown that when it comes to money, self regulation NEVER works. The P5 conferences in getting what they want, may completely destroy what they have. Yes, the Commissioners and those sucking out all of the money will not likely feel any pain when it implodes, everyone else will, starting with the athletes and ultimately the fans.

      I wish it were not so.

      Go Pirates, Go!

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