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.
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.