Tag:NCAA
Posted on: May 24, 2011 2:19 pm
 

Eye on CFB Roundtable: Full cost scholarships

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

Both Jim Delany and Mike Slive have come out in favor of "full cost of attendance" athletic scholarships that will include stipends for transportation, clothing, etc., in addition to covering tuition. But it's believed that not all conferences will be able to afford such stipends. Is this a plan college football fans should support?

Tom Fornelli: This is an interesting debate. Because my first inclination is that any extra money that the players can get, they should get. It's not that I think it'll keep players from breaking NCAA rules and taking money elsewhere or anything, it's just that I've always felt that the players should be getting a bigger piece of that billion dollar pie they bake to begin with.

That being said, I do worry about what this can lead to. It will affect recruiting. Let's say one conference is offering more than another. If I'm an 18-year old kid without a job, with an equal opportunity of playing at two different schools, but one is offering me $5,000 a year while the other $3,000? That $2,000 is going to make a big difference in my life. Plus, what if all the BCS conferences agree to a flat rate throughout to even that up? Well, that will just about kill the Mountain West's, WAC's and all the other non-BCS conferences' recruiting. The BCS already has an advantage over them, and now if they're offering even more, that gap only widens.

Adam Jacobi: You know what, though, Tom? I don't think the current recruiting rules did the little guys much good to begin with.

By that I mean, pretty much the only thing a school is allowed to use to entice a particular recruit is the relationship with the coach (playing time, off-field support) and the football program itself (game day, training facilities). Education also plays a role, but a rather weak one--the amount of young men who either A) enroll in the SEC or B) transfer from a quality school to some rinky-dink lower-division school whose diplomas mean about as much as a McDonald's placemat would indicate that the quality of education is not nearly as important as playing time or on-field prestige.

And sure, limiting recruiting pitches to football and education sounds good, but it basically means that a have-not type of school--your typical Sun Belt or MAC program, say--can't do a damn thing to entice an upper-level recruit to come there instead of to a BCS school.

Jerry Hinnen: Right. There's no question that the proposal would end any kind of recruiting "battles" between BCS and non-BCS teams (assuming the latter, as widely believed, couldn't come up with the scratch to put it into practice). Playing time and shots at championships only matter so much compared to (over four years) $8,000-$12,000.

But how many of those battles are going on in the first place? A handful in the West between Boise State and San Diego State and various Pac-12 schools ... maybe a few between bottom-rung BCS schools looking for sleepers in Texas and Florida and local C-USA teams like UCF, Houston and SMU ... perhaps a local metro recruit could be persuaded to stay in the MAC at Temple or, now, UMass, rather than going to ride the bench at a Big East cellar dweller.

AJ: Remember how funny it was that Cyrus Kouandjio kept leaving New Mexico in his Top 5? It's probably irritating to non-power schools that it was so funny.

At the same time, though, the last thing we need is a redux of the cash-crazy SWC days. That was unseemly and it ended badly. We don't need to encourage that type of behavior. And that's why I think what Tom's suggesting, that one school might be able to offer a flat sum of money more than the other, won't come to pass. There's going to be some strict regulation on what constitutes the full cost of attendance, and that seems fair. What I'd be interested in is how this extra money is disbursed. Surely they don't plan to award the money in a flat sum at the beginning of each semester, right? Because if you put $2,000 in a college kid's bank account and tell him it's got to last for four months, how long do you think that money's really going to last? And how much of that money is going to be spent conspicuously (i.e. cars, bling, alcohol), potentially embarrassing a school that fought hard for the athletes to get that extra money? JH: That could be a problem. But the fallout I'm worried about from this plan isn't what happens if it passes; it's what happens if the NCAA's mid-major rank-and-file (which may not have a dog in the FBS fight but will no doubt do whatever they can to protect their D-I men's hoops interests) find a way to keep it from passing. It's possible that that's the point at which the BCS schools take their ball and go home to their own, NCAA-free college football Premier League ... and as someone who enjoys seeing Boise State try to break through the glass ceiling and the C-USA champ take on the SEC in the Liberty Bowl and even, say, Temple take on Penn State in mid-September, I think college football would be dramatically poorer for it.

Chip Patterson: Further separation from the BCS and Non-BCS schools is the scariest aspect to me in this whole situation.  The threat/idea of a BCS breakaway from the NCAA (as Jerry mentioned) seems to be a doomsday scenario that everyone knows exists, but no one wants to talk about.  It would bring up new definitions and standards for college athletes, as well as amateurism in general.  Full cost scholarships are going to be a nightmare to try and define and establish across college football, and I fear the results of the conversation would only raise more problems than it would solve.  

Around many college campuses, the football team is on a bigger celebrity status than city officials.  You give 18-22 year olds a new stream of cash to go along with their larger-than-life status, there are going to be some consequences.  You could argue that there would be no more of a threat of off-field misconduct than already exists, but I find it difficult to imagine it won't play a factor in misconduct reports in the future.

Bryan Fischer: The one thing to keep in mind about these full-cost scholarship proposals is that they're going to be adjusted based on federal calculations to cover the gap between what the college scholarship covers now and what it actually costs to attend a school.

As Jim Delany has been quoted, players used to receive $15 for laundry every month and they still get the same $15 now. In essence, the Big Ten and SEC want to adjust scholarships for inflation. I think it's admirable and the right thing to do. If you're a parent spending thousands on private tutors and coaches and travel teams, I would think you'd be in favor of this too.

What remains to be seen is how you work out the nitty gritty details. There's Title IX considerations, partial scholarships for some sports to navigate around and a myriad of other issues. I don't think it will provide the recruiting advantage many think, since it's tied to cost of living. You go to USC or UCLA and you're going to get more money because gas is a tad more expensive than it is at Auburn or Alabama.

This idea has some traction with the membership, but the key will be nailing down the details and figuring out where the money is coming from. If the funding comes from student fees (in essence, students paying for student-athletes) then I can see a few roadblocks. There's a long way to go on this issue, and it will be interesting to see where those details take us.


Posted on: May 23, 2011 10:57 am
 

Slive joins 'full cost' scholarship bandwagon

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In his Friday column, our CBS Sports colleague Tony Barnhart reported that SEC commissioner Mike Slive had told him the "full cost of attendance" scholarship plan recently championed by the Big Ten's Jim Delany was "something he would like to discuss."

But speaking to the Birmingham News's Jon Solomon over the weekend, Slive made it clear he'd like to do a lot more with those scholarships than just discuss them:
"I think we're to a point now in intercollegiate athletics where we have been very fortunate to have developed significant revenue streams," Slive said Friday. "A lot of our student-athletes have significant needs and it's one of those issues whose time has come" ...

"Often times when I think of the foundation and basis of a lot of NCAA legislation, a lot of it tries to ensure a level playing field," Slive said. "It's an unattainable concept, but that's often the foundation. If you say the foundation ought to be student-athlete welfare, it's a different place for which to start thinking about full cost of attendance. Using that as the starting point, I think it's time for the national conversation to begin in a very serious way about the full cost of attendance."
Those statements about the NCAA and their legislative emphasis on a "level playing field" echo those already made by Delany--statements not-so-subtly intended as a shot across the bow to small-school opponents who would block their plans to aid BCS conference athletes in the name of competitive equality.

Delany and Slive clearly understand that full cost scholarships (an item far too expensive for most non-BCS leagues) would drive the finanical wedge even further between D-I athletics' haves and have-nots ... and they just as clearly do not care where their conferences' "student-athlete welfare" (and, surely, the attendant competitive advantage) is concerned.

There are still major impediments to the Delany plan; Title IX may legally guarantee the same scholarship funds for all varsity athletes, not just those in revenue sports, and such a plan would have to be approved by a vote of the entire NCAA membership. (That Mark Emmert supports full cost scholarships would seem to be a big help in clearing the second hurdle.) But with such powerful backers as Delany, Slive, and the NCAA president, there seems little question this issue (and the potential FBS-shattering fallout) is going to get the "discussion" Slive wants sooner rather than later.
Posted on: May 19, 2011 1:46 pm
 

Big Ten looking at "full cost" scholarships

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's still a long, long ways away before being put into practice. But if it is, a proposal currently being examined at the Big Ten's spring meetings could have seismic repercussions for major college football.

That proposal, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told ESPN's Brian Bennett, would increase the conference's full athletic scholarships to cover the "cost of full attendance"--not only tuition and room-and-board, but transportation, clothing, and other expenses. At approximately $3,000 per student-athlete per year, the additional cost for each league school would run into the hundreds of thousands.

But Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith says (and Delany clearly agrees with him) that at the highest level of collegiate athletics, it's feasible all the same:
"The reality is that schools can afford it more than you realize," ... Smith said. "Just look at some of the television contracts that have come out recently" ...

"There are some conferences and some institutions that have higher resources than others," Delany said.
Delany's comments made it clear that while there remains "a long way between the talk and the action" on the proposal, he's not intending to abandon it just because the smaller schools of Division I might not be able to afford it:
"Forty years ago, you had a scholarship plus $15 a month laundry money," Delany said. "Today, you have the same scholarship, but not with the $15 laundry money.

"How do we get back more toward the collegiate model and a regulatory system that is based more on student-athlete welfare than it is on a level playing field, where everything is about a cost issue and whether or not everybody can afford to do everything everybody else can do?"
Delany (who has never exactly been shy about protecting his own conference's interests when they conflict with those of less affluent leagues) and Smith didn't shy away from the fact that the proposal's financial burden would be impossible for most conferences to carry. Assuming the Big Ten and their peers adopted it, the logical end result would be scholarships to BCS-level schools becoming some $15-20,000 more valuable over their four- or five-year duration than their non-BCS counterparts.

Thus the division between the "haves" and "have-nots" would widen even further, potentially to the point of a divisional split between the BCS and non-BCS conferences; revolutionary an idea as that might be, Smith (a former A.D. at Eastern Michigan) called it a "logical thought."

Because of that issues, expect there to be a torrent of angry pushback from smaller leagues if and when the Big Ten decides to follow through on the proposal. But when it aims to provide better living conditions for student-athletes -- and has the support of NCAA president Mark Emmert, as reported -- how much push will the non-BCS leagues really be able to muster? We may find out over the next few years, and the fate of college footbal las we currently know it could hang in the balance.

Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Mark Emmert responds to the Dept. of Justice

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this month Christine Varney and the Department of Justice sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert and BCS executive Bill Hancock essentially asking why it is that the FBS level of college football is the only sport within the NCAA that does not hold a playoff to determine its champion. Well, after considering the question for a few weeks, Emmert has finally replied to the Department of Justice's inquiry, releasing the response on Wednesday.

Dear Ms. Varney:

We are in receipt of your May 3, 2011, letter and note your interest in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system. You asked for the NCAA's views and/or plans rleated to the Football Bowl Subdicision (FBS) postseason football, including an NCAA playoff. Inasmuch as the BCS system does not fall under the purview of the NCAA, it is not appropriate for me to provide views on the system. With regard to the Association's plans for an NCAA FBS football championship, there are no plans absent direction from our membership to do so. These are the short answers to your request.

To elaborate, however, it is important to share some relevant background. The BCS system is composed of the eleven conferences, plus Notre Dame, that are members of the FBS. It was established, as I understand it, to accomodate public interest for determining a subdivision football champion via on-field competition within a more than century-old bowl structure. In essence, the system includes match-ups among the top-ranked teams for five bowls, including a BCS Championship Game in which the BCS-determined top two teams compete. The selection criteria and bowl match-ups are managed by the 11 conferences. Other than licensing the postseason FBS bowls, the NCAA has no role to play in the BCS or the BCS system. As a result, your request for views on how the BCS system serves "the interest of fans, colleges, universities, and players" is better directed to the BCS itself.

The NCAA conducts 89 championships in 23 sports annually, and each of those championships has been created at the request of the Association's membership. At no time in the history of the FBS or its predecessor, Division I-A, has a formal proposal come before the membership to establish a postseason football championship in that subdivision. Instead, the FBS has elected to conduct its postseason competition outside the NCAA structure. Without membership impetus for a postseason playoff, the NCAA has no mandate to create and conduct an FBS football championship.

You noted in your letter that I had been quoted expressing my willingness to help create a championship. Not included in your letter was the context reported by the New York Times that such a change "would not happen unless the leaders of the institutions with teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision want to make such a change." This is consistent with my comments regarding an NCAA FBS championship since I came into office in October last year.

The letter from Emmert then goes on to answer the questions individually, but none of the answer are different than anything Emmert said in the body of the letter quoted above. Essentially the NCAA used a lot of words to say "We don't have a playoff because none of our schools have asked us to do so, and that the BCS is who you should be asking about the BCS. Have a nice day." 

Posted on: May 12, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Eye on CFB Roundtable: preseason top 25

By Eye on College Football Bloggers

Each week, the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron- style to answer a pressing question regarding the wild, wide world of college football. This week's topic:

We've already talked about No. 1, but the end of spring has also meant a revision of the rest of the preseason top 25, like our colleague Dennis Dodd's. What teams do you feel like might deserve a better ranking at this stage (or one at all)? What teams do you feel like might be ranked too highly?

Jerry Hinnen: There always seems to be one team from the SEC that comes from outside the preseason polls and surprises--think Mississippi State last year, Ole Miss in 2008, etc. But Dennis's 25 already includes every SEC team but Ole Miss, Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and I'm not sold on any of those teams as poll material. (There's a case to be made for the Vols, but only if Tyler Bray takes a major step forward, and his 5-for-30 spring game suggests that step may not be imminent.)

So I'll look elsewhere for a sleeper and mention how much I like San Diego State. The Aztecs have absorbed some heavy losses in their pair of NFL-bound wideouts and, of course, the head coach-offensive coordinator pairing of Brady Hoke and Al Borges. But Ronnie Hillman is an All-American running back waiting to happen, and senior Ryan Lindley is easily the best MWC quarterback this side of Kellen Moore. Together, they're one of the nation's best RB-QB combos, and new OC Andy Ludwig (the man behind Utah's undefeated 2008 attack) should know how to get the most out of them.

Defensively, the Aztecs should be much more comfortable in the second year of Rocky Long's unorthodox 3-3-5 scheme, and the schedule also offers the opportunity for two huge statement wins since TCU and Boise State travel to San Diego. Put it all together, and I don't think the departures of Hoke and Borges will be nearly enough to stop the program's momentum towards the polls.

Bryan Fischer: One team I think is a bit under the radar is Georgia. The Dawgs get the other division favorite, South Carolina, early in the schedule--that could be key if the Gamecocks are breaking in Connor Shaw, who has all of 33 passes to his name. I'm concerned about Georgia's running game but they have a good quarterback and the defense should be markedly improved in year two under Todd Grantham.

West Virginia is another team that can really make a move. They lose a lot from last year on defense but should be solid nevertheless. They might have one of the best offenses in the country with Geno Smith running the show and get their big non-conference game against LSU at home.

Chip Patterson: I agree with Bryan that West Virginia is a team that could cause some problems this fall. Dana Holgorsen might have done the coaching job of the year in 2010 with Oklahoma State's offense; the Cowboys did not return a single offensive lineman and his scheme resulted in the third-most productive offense in the nation anyway. Now he gets a stable full of athletes that, in many people's opinions, have been underperforming under Bill Stewart. Smith is the type of quarterback who can be a threat in Holgorsen's spread, especially once he gets familiar with the reads and changing plays at the line of scrimmage. The toughest challenge on the Mountaineers' slate is an early-season battle with LSU in Morgantown (as Bryan mentioned). I think that game is winnable, and could give them confidence headed into the back-loaded conference schedule.

Virginia Tech, though, is a huge question mark in my opinion. While I'm not sure whether they will end up higher or lower than 17, there's as much of a chance of them finishing the season unranked as getting to 10 wins. Their schedule does set up extremely well, with Clemson, Miami and North Carolina coming to Blacksburg and Florida State, Maryland and N.C. State avoided completely. But Logan Thomas needs to prove himself in a game situation, and running back David Wilson will have to work without Darren Evans or Ryan Williams to compliment him. Even if the Hokies finish the season strong, the eye test does not have them as "Top 20 good" just yet.

Adam Jacobi: After the first, oh, eight teams, I've got some major concerns about nearly every team on the list. Spring is the season for questions, of course, but it's like, "Michigan State at 11? Really? Wisconsin at 12? Really? Arkansas at 13? Really?" But you look at that list, and yeah, that's about right.

The one team that stands out to me is Notre Dame, who sort of creeps in under the radar at 19. I don't expect that sterling recruiting class to make much of an impact in Year 1, but there's a lot of talent coming back for Brian Kelly to build on. They have options at quarterback with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees, the passing game basically only lost tight end Kyle Rudolph (who was injured for the second half of the season anyway), and four of five starting linemen return. The defense, meanwhile, is still led by Manti Te'o and returns its top eight tacklers. There's some retooling to do up the middle of the front seven, but the leadership and experience are there for the D to take a big step forward this year.

Lastly, I really like the Irish's schedule. The only truly worrisome game is the season finale at Stanford; the rest of the games are winnable. That's not to say the Irish are definitely going 11-1 in the regular season -- that's not happening without a ton of luck -- but it's a nice very-best-case scenario.

BF: I think the top 10 is pretty much standard for everyone. Sure, you can change the order and move teams around, but you can't argue with those 10 teams much.

After that, I have an issue with Auburn at 15. I know they're the defending champions, but they lost a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and the Tigers have a very tough schedule where they could take some losses. I'm also not sold on Utah after watching them collapse down the stretch last year, and they've had a ton of guys sit out this spring with injuries. I'd swap them in the rankings with USC -- who has depth issues but also has Matt Barkley and Robert Woods throwing the ball around -- or UCF.

AJ: Here's something I want to know -- what do you do about Ohio State if you're a voter? Do you ding them since the Buckeye Five are suspended for five games? Do you un-ding them when they come back? How many spots does Jim Tressel's situation cost them? What's the protocol here?

Tom Fornelli: I would have them lower on my rankings, personally. Losing some of your best players and your head coach for five games is a big deal, even if those games are against MACifices that shouldn't prove much of a test to the Buckeyes. Either way, those players and Tressel aren't there to start the season, so we should treat Ohio State as if they're not there. And do you see Ohio State being a top-25 team with Joe Bauserman?

JH: Disagree. I don't think there's a "protocol" on how to deal with the Buckeyes' current (unprecedented) situation as it relates to preseason polls; your guess is as good as mine is as good as anyone else's. But I don't think dropping them out of the top 25 all together is fair. Until we hear otherwise from the NCAA, the Buckeye Five and Tressel won't miss any more than the first (mostly winnable) five games. Dropping them entirely -- under the mere assumption Tressel, Pryor, et al are a dead team walking -- seems to put the cart before the horse.

TF: Seriously, though, I need somebody to explain to me why Arizona State is suddenly the cool team to vote for. Do people just really like their new uniforms? Is Vontaze Burfict sitting over their shoulders as they fill out their brackets? This is a team that won six games last year, with those six wins coming against Portland State, Northern Arizona, Washington, Washington State, UCLA and Arizona. Arizona is the only impressive win on that list, and it was a one-point victory in double overtime. This is a team that may have a lot of returning starters this year, but they're returning starters from a team that wasn't exactly a world-beater last season. Also, after losing quarterback Steven Threet to injury, the guy who has to lead that returning-starter-filled offense is still new.

JH: You didn't even mention their plague of torn ACLs this spring. I wish I could disagree -- the Sun Devils have had a ton of bad luck the last couple of seasons -- but they strike me, too, as a prime candidate to disappoint.




Posted on: May 12, 2011 12:11 pm
 

Report: Jenkins to transfer to North Alabama

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It's not exactly a happy ending for Janoris Jenkins' college career -- once you've passed on the opportunity to be a first-round draft choice only to be dismissed from your team for two marjiuana-related arrests in the space of six weeks, there may be no happy ending -- but at least that career will reportedly have a chance to continue.

According to Division II football writer and scout Josh Buchanan, Jenkins will be transferring to D-II North Alabama and is only waiting on NCAA approval to make it official.

Assuming the transfer goes through as reported, Jenkins should still be able to salvage something of his professional career; the presence of head coach Terry Bowden makes the Lions one of the more visible D-II programs, and NFL scouts aren't going to let a proven All-SEC caliber prospect just slip off their radar screens. If Jenkins performs to potential for UNA and avoids any further drug issues, his draft stock should remain high. (As this year's No. 1 overall selection proves, leaving Florida hardly guarantees a big draft plummet.)

But given Jenkins' track record in Gainesville (remember that he had a third arrest earlier in his career), it remains to be seen if he takes advantage of that opportunity. If so, we'll see him on Draft Day 2012.

Posted on: May 11, 2011 11:45 am
 

Michigan AD Brandon won't 'poke' troubled OSU

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There may be plenty of observers out there enjoying plenty of chuckles at Ohio State's expense during their ongoing NCAA troubles -- including some in the other athletic departments around the Big Ten, no doubt -- but after Michigan's recent run-in with the NCAA's enforcement arm, Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon swears he isn't one of them:
"When you’re going through it, whether you’re a coach, or whether you’re an athletic director, or whether you’re a president, when you’re going through it, it’s painful, it’s difficult, it’s stressful," Brandon said. "And what you don’t need is anybody -- any more than is already the case -- you just don’t need anybody, particularly a colleague, poking anything at you."
From the sound of it, though, Brandon isn't talking about some hypothetical, non-specific, air-quote "colleague"; he's got someone in particular in mind:
"There were some people out there who did it, and I remember who they are, and I remember what they said," Brandon said. "We’ll leave it at that, other than I remember who they are and I remember what they said. Those people who took great glee in the fact that we got ourselves in that kind of situation. I’ll never do that.

"Let’s let the process take care of itself, the folks at Ohio State will deal with it as they will, and you’re not going to hear anything from me."
Come on, Dave: just name names, will you? This veneer of professionalism and common decorum doesn't do anything for those of us hoping for drama and headlines and bloodfeuds. You've got a lot to learn from Debbie Yow, we'd say.

But maybe it'll all come out in the wash anyway; if the television cameras catch Brandon dancing a jig in the fourth quarter of a Wolverine victory, we'll have some idea of who "those people who took great glee" in Michigan's misfortune really are.

Posted on: May 10, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Gators' frosh RB Blakely already transferring

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Mike Blakely hasn't played a down at Florida. He hasn't even played a down of practice, being forced to sit out spring practice after surgery on an injured shoulder.

But the early-enrolling class of 2011 running back has apparently seen enough to know the Gator program isn't for him. Head coach Will Muschamp has announced that Blakely is seeking a transfer and will be leaving Gainesville following this semester:
"Mike has come to the conclusion that the University of Florida is not where he wants to play football," Muschamp said. "We wish him the best of luck" ...

“Everyone at Florida has been very supportive of me in my time here and I'm thankful for the experience that I had, but I've made a decision to continue my college football career somewhere else," Blakely said.
Despite his limited time with the Gators, Blakely's signed letter-of-intent and early enrollment means he will be nonetheless required to sit out the 2011 season as a transfer. (We think; he may be seeking an NCAA waiver of some sort.)

One of the nation's top running back prospects last year -- he ranked at No. 66 overall in the Maxpreps top 100 and the No. 7 tailback -- Blakely was expected by many to challenge Chris Rainey, Mike Gillislee and the rest of the incumbent Gator tailbacks for the starting job in Charlie Weis's power-first pro-style overhaul.

But like most members of the Gators' class of 2011, Blakely had committed to Urban Meyer and the previous regime's spread look; per one early report, after getting a first-hand look at Weis's approach, the change in offensive scheme was enough to prompt the transfer request.

As for Blakely's next step, his destination is a matter of speculation, though it seems likely he'll look for an offense similar to the Meyer spread he originally committed to. What we do know is that the team adding him will be getting a potential playmaker whose stunningly brief Florida tenure shouldn't be the last we hear of him by any means.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com