Why the NCAA should forgive Ole Miss

The NCAA should forgive Ole Miss and get on with life.

By way of Houston Nutt, they’ve already got their prized cow in Hugh Freeze, and now they are going to do just about everything to burn Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork and friends at the stake. That’s because the NCAA is greedy, and the NCAA wants to look like the father that never gives up.

Listen, I’m not saying that Ole Miss didn’t do anything wrong. Anyone who knows anything about football in the SEC knows that players are paid to come to schools, to play at schools, and are rewarded for playing well at schools. The people that do it are either do-gooders or cult members. We’re still trying to work out which one they are.

And we’ve read about the stories of the Bagmen, and we know that thousands upon thousands more of them exist. For some reason, they love the idea of giving money to an establishment so the players can have a better life. It’s probably their own ego, or a story to tell around their other church – you know, the one where they worship Jesus Christ. But before anyone starts having massive sympathy for FBS Football player, it’s not like they have the world’s hardest time when they are school away from the football field.

Football players are known (generally) to have the tendency of taking the easiest classes, possibly/maybe getting people to do tests for them because they are so ****ing lazy (or stupid) to do it themselves/, getting three big meals per day, and getting adored by just about everybody. Oh, and there’s also the maximum female attention, too. And if you’re at a school like Clemson, you get a fun-slide, and if you’re at Alabama, you get your own taxi service to ensure that you don’t get into trouble on a Saturday night (or at least they didn’t during Julio Jones’ time there).

But with all this, we still can’t understand why the NCAA can’t work towards the idea of players getting a much bigger increase in playing stipend – or even getting paid to play. With the money the Group of 5 schools are making from their players in everything from endorsements: “The Tennessee Volunteers: The Official SEC team of Happiness” to TV deals (The SEC Network), yet the players seem to pocket nothing. I’m sure that the geniuses at the NCAA and the member schools think this is an incredible idea, but let’s be honest: The idea that players can go for 4 years, not even start for a first team, get the crap beaten out of them at every practice, and then not get paid….it’s an absolute joke.

As this carries on, you’ll get more Ole Miss stories. And more accusations by other schools about what schools do. Stories of watches going to major football players at [Name your school here], or weed to players at [Name a lot of schools here], or money going to [Name a lot of schools here]. The worst thing for the NCAA is that everything that seems to go through their mighty infractions office seems to be done at a sloth-like pace anyway, so why not get rid of it all and put in some sort of salary cap?

So why not drop the whole case and put in something that makes everyone’s lives easier? The players are pretty good at getting benefits anyway….

Arkansas fans HATE the idea of a Thursday Night Kick-Off

Arkansas fans HATE the fact that the school has decided to move the 2017 season kick-off against mighty Florida A&M to a Thursday night in Little Rock, ARK to please the SEC Network.

Remarks from the school’s Twitter feed weren’t nice:

“This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

“So no students will be able to attend because they have class the next day in Fayetteville”. 

“When money is more important than the fans and tradition….this happens”

Some went for Jeff Long, the Arkansas Razorbacks’ AD: “Can Frank Broyles come out of retirement as AD please?” as well as: “Further proof that Jeff Long only cares about NWA [Editor’s Note: We should think that’s not the rap band, but Northwest Arkansas] and not the entire Razorback fanbase.”

Tailgaters weren’t happy. “How do they expect to sell tailgate spots that people are required to be in by 10.30am on a workday? Horrible!”

The good thing for Arkansas fans is at least the Razorbacks – who have a small history of struggling with ‘below-par’ teams shouldn’t struggle with Florida A&M. The Rattlers went 4-7 last year, losing 70-3 to Miami (FL) in its season opener.

One thing they may struggle with? Attendance.





Old Dominion refuses game with Alabama – reports

According to reports, Old Dominion University has refused to play a game at Bryant-Denny Stadium against Alabama in 2015.

According to a report by the Virginia-Pilot, ODU Athletic Director Wood Selig said that his team’s schedule was full, which cost the university a potential $1.3m payday.

Alabama itself didn’t approach ODU for the game….apparently ESPN was the first people to try and put together the match-up, probably for a promotional tool (pitiful though it would have been) of its all-important SEC Network.

Apparently, games against Eastern Michigan, Appalachian State, Norfolk State, and NC State are more important than getting an ass-kicking on ESPN.

We’ve already got 12 games,” Selig said. “I’d certainly touch base with (head coach) Bobby Wilderon this, but I don’t think playing a game against Alabama would be an advisable move given the infancy of our program.

According to FBSchedules.com, Alabama’s struggling to find home games despite ones against Wisconsin and Louisiana-Monroe both confirmed.

BOTTOM LINE: Let’s hope Alabama puts a bigger team on the schedule instead. 




Dish Network to carry SEC Network

Dish Network and ESPN owner Disney have finally come to a deal over DVRing, according to reports. And in a side agreement between the two sides, SEC fans will be able to watch the new SEC Network when it comes in August.

The two sides had also come to an agreement which means that the Dish’s auto-hop function – which allows viewers not to have to view commercials – will be disabled for all ABC/ESPN programming. And while that may be annoying for some people DVRing SEC games or SEC Network shows, the good news is is that at least they’ll be watching them.

John Skipper, President, ESPN & Co-Chairman, Disney Media Networks said in a statement: “We worked with DISH to smartly address the future of the multi-screen world on several levels.  Together, we are adding value to the traditional video subscription by making great content accessible across platforms and delivering new products, including our WatchESPN authenticated networks, the highly anticipated launch of the SEC ESPN Network, expanded distribution for Longhorn Network, and a reimagined ESPN Classic video-on-demand channel.  At the same time, we are creating opportunities to add new subscribers and introducing the value of a multichannel subscription to a small subset of broadband-only consumers.

BOTTOM LINE: Dish has 14 million customers – so it wasn’t in the interest of any of the parties NOT to come to a deal. If the Disney channels had been disabled, Dish could have lost a fortune….and seen their stock price hammered in the process. Great news for SEC fans!!

SEC APR scores see Alabama, Missouri top the standings

The Academic Progress Rate scores for the Southeastern Conference have just come through for football teams, and it seems that although they haven’t done a lot right on the football field, the Missouri Tiger are doing good things in the schoolroom.

The NCAA says the APR “holds Division I institutions accountable for the academic progress of their student-athletes through the Academic Progress Rate, a team-based metric that accounts for the eligibility and retention of each student-athlete, each term.”

It adds: “Each student-athlete receiving athletically related financial aid earns one retention point for staying in school and one eligibility point for being academically eligible. A team’s total points are divided by points possible and then multiplied by one thousand to equal the team’s Academic Progress Rate score.”

It adds- and here’s the relatively interesting bit – Beginning with 2012-13 championships, teams must earn a minimum 900 four-year APR or a 930 average over the most recent two years to be eligible to participate.

Look at the numbers – Tennesee’s isn’t that great. Nor is Ole Miss’ – although it was very improved in the first year under Hugh Freeze/last one under Houston Nutt.

  1. Missouri – 982 in 2011/2, 972 in 2010/1, 967 in 2009/10 and 958 in 2008/9
  2. Alabama – 978, 970, 963, 957
  3. Vanderbilt – 973, 978, 977, 975
  4. Georgia – 968, 970, 976, 973
  5. Florida – 968, 972, 976, 961
  6. Mississippi State – 967, 959, 952, 959
  7. South Carolina – 966, 966, 954, 938
  8. Texas A&M – 954, 946, 940, 934
  9. Auburn – 950, 943, 940, 935
  10.  LSU – 944, 964, 966, 965
  11. Ole Miss – 944, 933, 939, 921
  12. Kentucky – 943, 951, 948, 951
  13. Arkansas – 938, 936, 937, 930
  14. Tennessee – 924, 931, 937, 944

Instead of going for just the last 2011-12 scores, we thought we’d go back over the last four years. Here’s what we found:

Missouri and Alabama are the cream of the crop. Both schools have APRs that have risen over the last four years without fail. Good job, Gary and Nick.

–  More focus on football at Vanderbilt? Maybe not (and maybe the kids are taking harder classes in Nashville), but Vanderbilt actually went down five points between 2011-2 and 2010-1. We wonder if this trajectory will continue.

– Most worrying trend downwards? Tennessee went from 944 to 924 over the four year period. But LSU really takes the biscuit. LSU’s APR score fell TWENTY POINTS between 2011-2 and 2010-1. That’s considerable. We wonder how many APR points LSU lost for booting Tyrann Mathieu out of school.

– Schools that saw their APR go up between 2010-1 and 2011-2: Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, Ole Miss.

– Schools that saw their APR go down over the same period: Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Tennessee

South Carolina stayed the same.

Here’s the full release. 

The new SEC Network: What We Should Expect

The new SEC Network was announced with all the bells and whistles that greets every ESPN announcement.

The deal, which is thought to be worth billions of dollars to the SEC, was not discussed by ESPN CEO John Skipper or SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, but is thought to be worth a heck of a lot more than the current 15-year, $2.25bn deal signed between the conference and the network back in 2008.

The deal will be for 45 college football games, 100 men’s basketball games, and lots of other sports, plus 24-7 programming about the SEC and all the fun and games. We would love to ask the network to hire us as special director for a ‘Wild Girls of the SEC’ documentary, because we doubt it will go ahead.

For those of you in love with Verne and Gary, we doubt that the SEC will walk away from its deal with CBS, which currently shares rights to the big games with the SEC, and seems to get first choice on the ‘biggies’ throughout most of the season for the 3.30pm kick-off and a couple of night games, too. The SEC still needs CBS as its national cable carrier, and we doubt that people watching ABC all over America will want to see the likes of Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia and LSU week in, week out.

But here’s what we expect for this season, even before the SEC Network is launched in August 2014:

  • Even more blanket SEC coverage on College Gameday. Last season, ESPN was almost ESECPN with the amount of coverage SEC schools were getting on College Gameday. The first three games of Gameday were involving SEC teams. Four games after that involved SEC teams – and we think the reason for that was the rise of Notre Dame, who frankly saved College Gameday from even bigger accusations of bias. Don’t get us wrong, we love the SEC coverage, but it was getting a little dull. Especially without any love for the USC Song Girls. We’ll put an outside bet on a SEC school getting the College Gameday ad, too – like Texas A&M did last year.
  • The SEC to get a permanent spot on College Football Live: Watch College Football Live carefully, and the SEC is almost always heading up the headlines for Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. In fact, other schools should be honored to get a look-in. This coverage will get even MORE SEC-biased in 2014, because it becomes within ESPN’s interests (they own 100% of the SEC Network) to pitch SEC, SEC, SEC to non-SEC football fans (would you believe it, they exist folks!) – because they’ll need the customers. If you don’t believe us, remember how much Texas and the Longhorn Network was pitched prior to the 2013 season?
  • Prepare to get hammered with ‘Buy The SEC Network’ Marketing: It won’t stop. If you love the SEC, you’re probably going to get it anyway, but by God, it’s going to get driven down your through. Chris Fowler and the gang should get special dividends from Disney for pitching the Network day in, day out. Because by God, they’ll do a lot of it

What we should expect after 2014:

  • The schools will be a ton richer. Which will mean more money for weight rooms and for other athletics other than football. This is a good thing. Also expect some of the money to go into the general scholarship funds, which can only help the universities – particularly those that aren’t your Vanderbilts of this world.
  • The ESPN exposure will mean even more great recruits come to play in the SEC. Thanks to ESPN, other conferences are going to be left in the dark. Unless their big teams have big former National Championship-winning SEC coaches, or have a lot of former players on their staff, like, you know, Ohio State.
  • The SEC will continue to dominate. Don’t be surprised if the SEC wins National Championships year in, year out until either the Second Coming happens, or the powers-that-be- in college football start to change rules about non-conference scheduling, so we see better non-conference games for big SEC schools, which will bring it more into line with NCAA Basketball. This will be no bad thing.
  • We eventually say goodbye to the CBS deal. Tradition may be one thing, but dollars is another. And CBS would quite happily forgo college football for The Masters, which at some point they are going to have to go for. ESPN will soon collect the top 3.30 game too, and we’ll have to go to one company to watch SEC football – and that’s exactly what ESPN will want you to do, because you’ll then pay for their channel.
  • More Les Miles and Steve Spurrier. Which is no bad thing.
  • More Wright Thompson. Which really, really, really is no bad thing.
  • More shots of beautiful SEC co-eds. Which really, really, really, really, is no bad thing. At all.
  • Paul Finebaum: The SEC’s most controversial talk-show host has just signed a contract with ESPN and the SEC Network. Some people have recommended he get a sports social media show with Skip Bayless and call it ‘Dislike’. Which is a little uncharitable. Anyways, you’re going to hear a lot of Auburn-baiting on national radio, folks.