Steve Spurrier proposed today that college football players ought to be paid a stipend out of the coaches’ salaries. He suggested $300 a game, to perhaps 70 players, $21,000 a game from the coach. Seven SEC coaches, including LSU’s Les Miles, signed his proposal.
Spurrier appears to have intended it as a conversation starter, and as such, it’s a good one. The President of the NCAA, Mark Emmert, had a strongly negative reaction, calling the idea “the death of intercollegiate athletics as we know it.”
The hope of stipend-type arrangements is to get players out of the situation where they are tempted to break NCAA rules to pay their rent or get spending money. Might not work; might foster more greed rather than curb it. The biggest road block: Title IX and minor sports. The women’s soccer coach at Utah probably can’t afford $300 a game to every member of his squad.
The BCS has agreed to voluntarily meet with the Department of Justice over the summer and attempt to explain why the BCS is 1) not in violation of anti-trust laws 2) has done a good job of achieving it’s principal stated goal, which is to ensure an annual post-season matchup of number one versus number two in college football and 3) has increased the fairness of the system toward teams from the non-automatic qualifying conferences.
Rob Moseley reports the Ducks had two hush-hush conditioning workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The first was a Marine-type intensive special forces exercise session, and the second was a water-based workout. Tweets from team members about the program were reportedly squelched by the coach Speculation is that this was either a team-bonding exercise, intended to stay within the program, not suitable for outsiders, or that the workouts involved some kind of team punishment for individual player misdeeds, a very military concept.
Chip Kelly is, first and foremost, a teacher. He’s always looking for ways to get the maximum buy-in and commitment from his group, and seems to want to make sure the players understand the goals and the message of the program.
An excerpt from Moseley’s article:
On Tuesday morning, the UO football team met on the grass practice fields outside the Casanova Center for a workout that was part team building, part strength and conditioning, all under the watchful eyes of military-style drill instructors. There was more of the same Wednesday, except that the whole production was moved to Springfield’s Willamalane Park Swim Center, which was closed to the public for the workout from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m.
Perhaps in keeping with the military “special forces” theme of the workouts, it was all very hush-hush. Through a spokesman, Kelly on Tuesday said media were barred from attending the pool workout, and he did not return a phone message Wednesday seeking comment on the proceedings; several players made mention of the intensity of the workouts on their Twitter accounts Tuesday, but a day later some had been deleted.
The more sound and fury that comes out of the Ohio State investigation, the less likely it seems that the Oregon Ducks are a major target of the NCAA. The inquiry into recruiting services and scouting combines seems wide-spread, Oregon was open about payments and their use of the services, and had done their due diligence in compliance. The books were open and their cooperation was complete and forthright. Unless new allegations surface, this doesn’t appear to be a big deal.
The trouble is, of course, in this twitter/blog/cell phone camera world, a new allegation or an information bombshell is never more than two posts and a retweet away from becoming reality.
The groundswell continues to build for a playoff in college football. Lots of people hate the BCS, and pose the question in a variety of ways, “if we settle the champion in every other sport at every other level with a playoff, why do we continue to do it in college football with polls, bowls, and computers?”
It’s a reasonable question and a healthy debate. There’s lots wrong with the current system, which penalizes teams for taking chances with their out-of-conference schedules, lines the pockets of bowl organizing committees and has led to all kinds of abuse.
One problem with a playoff for college football is how to make it work. College football is a fall game, the perfect fall game, and the playoffs would come in the dead of winter. Anyone want to travel to an away game to say, Michigan on December 24th? If a playoff structure gave home field advantage to the higher-seeded team, that could happen in the second or third round. It’s a national game. A playoff bracket would increase the advantage of warm-weather teams and schools with deep-pocket alumni that travel well. It’s impossible to envision how a team like Stanford, ranked fourth and playing extremely well at the end of last year, would travel to three or four playoff games. Fans from Alabama and LSU would sell all their memorabilia to follow their boys wherever they went.